Move to force through pension reform set to deal big blow to Macron presidency

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On Saturday February 29th, during an emergency meeting of ministers called to discuss the Coronavirus crisis, the French government took the decision to force its bitterly-opposed pension reforms through Parliament without a vote. In adopting the “nuclear option” of invoking Article 49-3 of the French Constitution to do this, President Emmanuel Macron is hoping that public debate will now shift to other issues. But as Ellen Salvi writes, the move is likely to plunge the remaining two years of his presidency into greater political uncertainty and even undermine his chances of re-election in 2022.

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President Emmanuel Macron has just ended up turning the constitutional weapon known as Article 49-3 on himself. In deploying this article of the French Constitution - which enables a law to be forced through without a Parliamentary vote – for its controversial pension reforms, the current administration has chosen to back out of a Parliamentary debate which it felt was taking far too long. In doing so the president hopes to bring to a close the debate on the catastrophic pension reforms which have dogged his government from early on, and switch the focus of public debate to other issues. But in reality President Macron's decision to force this legislation through is likely to mean he spends the final two years of his term watching powerlessly as his presidency falls apart.