The Constitutional Court (TC) will have to approve or censure on Friday all or part of the reform of the national pension system, approved by decree and rejected by the unions, and which threatens to prolong the “war” with new forms of mobilization and demands for a national referendum.
The twelfth day of demonstrations, which came out on Thursday, once again confirmed the downward trend of mobilization: 42 thousand demonstrators in Paris, according to the Ministry of the Interior, 400 thousand according to the unions.
As in previous days, radical minorities stirred up tensions and violence in the provinces and in Paris. Riot police had to use tear gas to protect the Constitutional Court headquarters. Violent clashes at the door of the Bank of France. Many storefronts were destroyed. Accidental fires. An attempt was made to “occupy” one of the headquarters of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH, which has 145 thousand employees and is one of the first taxpayers in the country.
Three months after the national crisis, with the decline of the popular movement, the unions do not give up and continue to demand the complete withdrawal of the reform project.
Laurent Berger, The Secretary General of the CFDT, the main opponent of Emmanuel Macron, declared on Thursday that “the government is mistaken if it thinks that the crisis is over. This will be followed by the great demonstrations of May 1. Demands have been made to call a national referendum.” Sophie BinetAnd the new secretary of the Union of Communist General Syndicates, a union of communist origin, always stresses: “Macron will not be able to rule this country as long as he does not back down from the reform that public opinion rejects, as all opinion polls confirm.”
The NTC ruling threatens to confirm that France has become a difficult country to govern. If he approves the bill, Macron will have won an important battle, but the law will not be able to enter into force immediately. Trade unions and opposition from the far left and far right have petitioned to call a national referendum. Another unpredictable battle will begin. All Macron’s legislative projects will falter in the absence of a clear parliamentary majority.
Trade unions and opposition from the far left and far right have petitioned to call a national referendum
If the TC rejects the bill, Macron will suffer an inglorious defeat. Unions will receive positive support for their demands to withdraw completely from the “great reform” of Macron’s national project. If he rejects it or partially approves it, the most likely hypothesis is that Macron and the unions will be able to catch the burning nail of the approved or rejected articles. The conflict will enter an unexpected stage. All scenarios, positive or negative, for Macron and the unions, have a very deep common denominator: France is permanently divided in a dangerous legislative paralysis, which is difficult to govern.
During the first term of his first presidential term, in the fall of 2017, Macron announced that reforming the national pension system would be the major “structural” overhaul of his reform project. Six years later, after the yellow vests crisis, the coronavirus crisis, and last year’s election campaigns, the big reform is still faltering.
The unions and a large part of public opinion reject the main point of the “reformer” project: increasing the official retirement age from 60-62 to 64, the lowest age in the European Union. Macron will visit Notre Dame Cathedral on Friday in the hope that his prayers will be heard and that he will receive spiritual support from those who need it most.