Marine Le Pen has announced the presentation of a motion of censure against the government for the way in which the pension reform is being processed in Parliament.
Le Pen, in statements to the press, explained that the presentation of the motion by her National Rally (RN) party seeks “a parliamentary referendum” on the bill, especially given that the slowness of the parliamentary debates could make it impossible to vote on article 7 of the legislative bill.
This article, which raises the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, is the most important of the reform.
However, yesterday afternoon MPs still had to discuss nearly 13,800 amendments to the draft legislation, making it more than unlikely that the text can be seen in detail before the night of Friday 17, when the constitutional deadline for the executive’s proposal to pass from the National Assembly to the Senate expires.
Le Pen’s announcement came a day before a new day of protests and demonstrations across France, the fifth in less than a month, against the government’s draft, for which trade unions expect a somewhat smaller mobilisation than in previous days.
The leaders of the main trade unions plan to take part in a demonstration in Albi, a small historic city in southeastern France, to emphasise that the protest movement is a national one – with some 200 marches and rallies planned for Thursday – and not just a Parisian affair.
A few weeks ago, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne insisted that raising the minimum retirement age and increasing the contribution period to 43 years for a full pension (equivalent to the maximum pension) were non-negotiable, despite social discontent and protests.
“No, that is no longer negotiable,” Borne responded sharply in an interview published by France Info, because “it is necessary to ensure the balance of the system”.
Borne also stressed, in the face of discontent and criticism of the reform, that the government has heard “many inaccuracies” and false information. In particular, she rejected the idea that the changes would be particularly detrimental to French women (who are more affected by career breaks) and claimed that “two thirds” of the pensioners who are going to benefit from a revaluation due to the rise in minimum pensions are precisely women.
He also pointed out that the criterion of having reached the age of 67 in order to receive the maximum pension – regardless of the number of years of contributions – is a parameter that the government does not intend to change.
The reform also proposes to put an end to special pension schemes, which are more advantageous than the general system and are often used by public sector companies, such as the state-owned electricity company EDF.
French public opinion is overwhelmingly against the reform and this opinion has been growing stronger in recent days.
The Elabe polling institute published a new survey this week, according to which 72% of those questioned are opposed to it, six points more than a week ago.