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French senate greenlights Macron’s pension reform

The French Senate gave its green light to a contentious pension reform bill on Thursday. The upper chamber of parliament is dominated by conservative Les Republicains (LR) senators, who back the reform.

The vote now goes to the National Assembly, scheduled on Thursday afternoon.

The bill details President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age by two years, from 62 to 64, after weeks of protests and fractious debate, and it was unclear if the bill has enough votes to pass.

🔴#RéformeDesRetraites #CMP : Le Sénat a adopté le texte élaboré par la commission mixte paritaire qui sera examiné à l'Assemblée nationale (@AssembleeNat) à 15 heures.

Le résultat du scrutin :
193 pour ✅
114 contre ❌


— Sénat (@Senat) March 16, 2023
Macron and his government say the deeply unpopular bill, which has faced huge street protests and repeated job walkouts, is necessary to keep the pension budget in the black.

At stake for the president, who has made this a key plank of his second mandate, is his reformist credentials.

Opinion polls show a vast majority of voters oppose the changes, as do trade unions, who say there are other ways to balance the accounts, including taxing the wealthy more.

Ruling party officials have acknowledged the numbers are tight with LR members of parliament in the lower chamber split on the reform. LR and centrist groups said they were being courted by ministers hoping to convince them to vote for the bill.

If the government does go for a vote and loses, that would trigger a political crisis and would likely see Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne resign.

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