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Macron’s Controversial Move to Bypass Parliament and Impose Pensions Reform Sparks Protests in Paris

President Emmanuel Macron of France has made a highly contested decision to utilize an unconventional constitutional technique to apply his unpopular pension reform without the approval of parliament, a move which has greatly impacted his authority.

In June of last year, the French president lost its absolute majority in the National Assembly in the parliamentary elections.[0] He has been compelled to enter into impromptu agreements with members of the French conservative party Les Républicains.[0] Despite Olivier Marleix, the leader of the once-powerful conservatives, claiming there was “a clear majority” of their party in favor of the reform, there appears to be a division among them.[0]

After two months of nationwide strikes and some of the most considerable demonstrations in decades, Macron's plan to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 was unexpectedly given the green light, thanks to the utilization of a special constitutional power. Fearing it could not garner enough support from Members of Parliament, the government made the decision.[1]

Proponents of Macron maintain that the reform, which increased the retirement age from 62 to 64, was a must in order to preserve the pension system of France from going bankrupt.[2] A parliamentary vote on the reform in France was set to take place, yet Macron utilized Article 49.3, a constitutional clause that allows the reform to be implemented without a parliamentary vote.[1]

In an effort to balance the accounts of France's state pension system, the reform would raise the legal retirement age to 64 from 62, and lengthen contributions for a full pension. Macron's re-election bid last year was centered around pensions reform, and had the measure not passed in Parliament, it would have been detrimental to the remainder of his presidency.[3]

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron made a controversial decision to raise the retirement age by two years, bypassing the vote that was due to take place in the National Assembly only minutes later. This has led to demonstrations occurring all over Paris.[4]

In an attempt to balance the accounts of its state pension system, one of the most generous in the world, French President has proposed to raise the legal retirement age to 64 from 62 and extend contributions for a full pension. The French Council of Pensions Planning estimates that the current pension system is financially viable in the near future, yet will likely incur a deficit by the long term.[0]

0. “Macron on the brink: How French pensions revolt could wreck his presidency” POLITICO Europe, 16 Mar. 2023,

1. “French anger spreads after Macron forces pension age rise” The Guardian, 17 Mar. 2023,

2. “What's Happening in France? Videos Show Paris Burning in Protest” Newsweek, 16 Mar. 2023,

3. “Macron’s defiant show of force in parliament exposes a weakened president” POLITICO Europe, 16 Mar. 2023,

4. “In the press – Macron ‘weakened and isolated' after French government pushes through pension reform” FRANCE 24 English, 17 Mar. 2023,

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