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Unrest in France challenges Macron’s ambitions

Unrest in France challenges Macron’s ambitions

By Tara Varma

More than one million protestors took to the streets in France on March 24, 2023, in response to President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed pension reforms, which would raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64. This was the 10th day of national mobilization since January 19, 2023, and the demonstrations show no sign of stopping. After Macron’s government lost its absolute majority in the National Assembly in the 2022 legislative elections — leaving it unable to pass the law through a simple majority — the government decided to use a constitutional tool called Article 49.3, which allows it to pass a law in parliament without a vote on the text. The decision resulted in the government facing two votes of no confidence, which it didn’t lose — but the main one, pushed by a centrist minister of parliament, fell short by only nine votes, indicating how volatile the political situation in France is right now. Macron has said that he will not back down, though there is precedent for the government using Article 49.3 and then later withdrawing the law in response to massive and continuous public protests.

After winning the presidential election last year and beating Marine Le Pen, Macron found…

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