President Emmanuel Macron will use executive fiat to push through his unpopular pension system reform that will raise the French retirement age to 64, according to Agence France Presse, effectively bypassing the lower house of parliament.
The pension bill was debated in parliament for six weeks before it became clear that Mr. Macron couldn't muster enough votes, leading the government to invoke the constitutional provision known as Article 49.3 that allows for the adoption of a law without a vote.
Mr. Macron made the pension system revamp — which boosts the minimum retirement age from 62 years — a top priority of his second term, arguing that it was essential to avoid deficits that have been exacerbated by the energy crisis and COVID-19-related spending. The process could still be challenged by opposition lawmakers and a resolution could take months.
Opposition parties have the right to request a vote of no-confidence in the government. In the event Mr. Macron loses the ballot, the pension bill would be nullified and the government would have to resign. But such a move would require the backing of some conservative lawmakers.
Millions have taken to the streets to protest the proposal, with a majority of French people opposed to the reform. But turnout plunged in recent marches and polls have shown that a majority of people expected the bill to pass.
Perhaps the most visible sign of the protests is trash in the streets of cities including Paris, where some 7,000 tons of waste have been left to pile up by striking garbage collectors in recent days.
The opposition has other tools to delay the reform's enactment, such as requesting the constitutional court to review or tweak the bill or by triggering a mechanism to call for a referendum.