France is waiting for a constitutional decision on a higher retirement age – KGET 17

PARIS (AP) – France’s elite body is expected to rule Friday on whether President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial plan to raise the retirement age is constitutional, a decision that could appease or further enrage opponents of the change.

All eyes were on the heavily guarded Constitutional Council, which can overturn all or parts of the complex pension reform plan Macron pushed through without a vote in the lower house of parliament. Spontaneous demonstrations were likely across France ahead of the nine-member court’s ruling.

The president’s push to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 sparked months of strikes and protests by workers. Violence by pockets of ultra-left radicals has marked 12 otherwise peaceful marches across the country organized by unions since January.

In addition to the decision on pension reforms, the Constitutional Council will also decide on the request of MPs who oppose the plan to use a little-used and lengthy process that could ultimately lead to a referendum on the proposal that the legal retirement age should not exceed 62.

The members of the court can reject the pension legislation in whole or in part. All parts that they conclude pass the constitutional test must be declared law, regardless of whether the Council also approves the referendum request or not.

Union leaders said the body’s decisions would be respected. However, they also vowed to continue protest actions in an attempt to force Macron to simply withdraw the measure.

“As long as this reform is not withdrawn, the mobilization will continue in one form or another,” Sophie Binet, head of the left-wing CGT union, said on Thursday.

The leader of the moderate CFDT, Laurent Berger, warned that “there will be consequences” if the Constitutional Council gives the French government the green light.

Polls have consistently shown that the majority of French citizens oppose working for another two years before being able to collect their pensions. The government’s decision to bypass parliamentary elections in March by using special constitutional powers has renewed the anger of opponents of the measure.

Opponents challenged the government’s choice to include the pension plan in the draft budget law, which significantly accelerated the legislative process. They hope that this will provide grounds for the Constitutional Council to reject the text as a whole.


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