Despite heavy protests, French President Macron signs pension reform into law

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PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron, despite severe protests across the country, has signed a pension bill into law to raise the country’s retirement age by two years, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.

The key retirement-age legislation was accepted by France’s Constitutional Council on Friday, which came after months of opposition to the change, which the administration rammed through parliament without a final vote.

Key reform provisions, such as raising the retirement age to 64 and lengthening the number of years of employment necessary for a full pension, were approved by the nine-member Constitutional Council, which found that the legislation complied with French law.

The fight to put the bill into effect ended up being the biggest domestic obstacle of Macron’s second term because of both the overwhelming public resistance to the revisions and his own declining personal popularity, Al Jazeera reported.

A specific contract for older workers as well as requiring large corporations to disclose the number of persons over 55 they employ were two of the nine minor ideas that were turned down in the discussion, according to Al Jazeera.

Earlier, the reforms were passed by parliament on March 16 after the government used a mechanism to bypass a vote by MPs, inflaming nationwide protests. They were considered adopted by parliament when the government survived two no-confidence motions on March 20.

But the reforms can only come into law once they are validated by the Constitutional Council, which has the power to strike out some or even all of the legislation if deemed out of step with the constitution, reported France24.

Before the verdict, protesters opposed President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age to 64 marched in cities and villages throughout France.

The citizens of France have been a part of the months-long protest movement against the pension reform that has sent social tensions spiralling in France and Macron and his government refuse to give way. (ANI)

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