Macron Moves Forward with Controversial French Pension Reform

French President Emmanuel Macron is moving forward with a controversial plan to reform the country’s pension system without a parliamentary vote, as protests continue across the country and opposition parties prepare to call a no-confidence vote Friday.

Macron on Thursday used a constitutional power to pass legislation raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without a parliamentary vote.

The Senate passed the bill Thursday, but right-wing politicians in the National Assembly opposed the measure, which meant the bill did not have enough votes.

Two-thirds of French voters oppose the pension overhaul, according to polls.

Strikes protesting the reform have been staged around the country since January, affecting trains, schools, public services and ports. Thousands of protesters demonstrated outside Parliament on Thursday.

“I feel like I’m being cheated as a citizen,” said 55-year-old teacher Laure Cartelier.

Unions have called for another day of protest around the country for next Thursday.

A rolling strike by municipal garbage collectors in Paris who oppose the pension reform has resulted in mounds of trash, which have attracted rats and disgusted tourists.

Some information in this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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