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    Macron’s Risky Move: Bypassing Parliament to Push Through Pension Reforms Sparks Outrage and Protests


    Yesterday marked a pivotal moment in French politics, as President Emmanuel Macron invoked a controversial constitutional provision to bypass parliament and push through his deeply unpopular pension reforms. This move has sparked outrage on both sides of the political spectrum and led to massive protests throughout the country.

    The pension reform, which increases the legal age of retirement from 62 to 64 and extends contributions for a full pension, was a cornerstone of Macron’s bid for re-election.[0] But the plan has been strongly opposed by the parties of the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale (NUPES), the single largest opposition group, leading to Macron’s loss of an absolute majority in the National Assembly in parliamentary elections last June.

    Political commentators had speculated in recent days that Macron’s Renaissance party did not have enough votes to pass the bill.[1] Macron decided to trigger Article 49.3 of the French constitution, which grants the government executive privilege to push through controversial pension reforms without a parliamentary vote.

    The government’s decision to use this constitutional maneuver is widely seen as a risky move because it allows MPs to submit motions of no-confidence within 24 hours.[2] Should a majority of MPs vote in favour of a motion, Borne's government would be obliged to step down.[2]

    Protests have broken out across the city of Paris in response to the decision.[3] Members of the France Unbowed party on the far-left side of the aisle booed and shouted the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, while National Rally MPs from the far-right side of the chamber yelled “Resign! Resign!”[1] Debates were suspended by the Speaker of the House to give Borne the opportunity to make her speech.[2]

    Macron’s decision to bypass parliament in order to push through his pension reform is a major blow to his leadership and has been seen as a risky move by many. The government’s decision to invoke Article 49.3 of the French constitution has sparked massive protests throughout the country and led to questions about the wisdom of Macron’s hunger for reforms. While the reform may save France's pensions system from going bankrupt in the long term, the political cost to Macron may be too high to bear.

    0. “What's Happening in France? Videos Show Paris Burning in Protest” Newsweek, 16 Mar. 2023,

    1. “Jean-Luc Mélenchon: France's Pension Battle Isn't Over” Jacobin magazine, 17 Mar. 2023,

    2. “Macron’s defiant show of force in parliament exposes a weakened president” POLITICO Europe, 16 Mar. 2023,

    3. “French workers may have to retire at 64 and many are in uproar. Here's why” CNN, 17 Mar. 2023,

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