The Mercury News

Macron's retirement overhaul becomes law

- By Roger Cohen

The French National Assembly rejected a no-confidence motion against the government of President Emmanuel Macron, ensuring that a fiercely contested bill raising the retirement age to 64 from 62 becomes the law of the land.

The motion received 278 votes, nine short of the 287 needed to pass. The close result reflected widespread anger at the overhaul to the pension law, at Macron for his apparent aloofness and at the way the measure was rammed through Parliament last week without a full vote on the bill itself. France's upper house of Parliament, the Senate, passed the pension bill this month.

A second no-confidence motion, filed by the farright National Rally, failed Monday as well, with only 94 lawmakers voting in favor.

The change, which Macron has sought since the beginning of his first term in 2017, has provoked two months of demonstrat­ions, intermitte­nt strikes and occasional violence. It has split France, with polls consistent­ly showing twothirds of the population opposing the overhaul.

In the end, there were just enough votes from the center-right Republican­s, who last year proposed raising the retirement age even higher, to 65, to salvage the law and the government led by Elisabeth Borne, the prime minister. The government would have fallen had the censure motion been upheld, obliging Macron either to name a new government or dissolve the National Assembly, or lower house, and call elections.

But informatio­n later published by the National Assembly shows that 19 lawmakers from the Republican party voted in favor of the no-confidence motion, far more than expected.

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