The French Senate, thanks to the right-wing majority in the upper house, voted early Thursday morning to delay the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, the main point of President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform.
After midnight, 201 senators spoke in favor of what is already the well-known article 7 of the bill that increases by two years the age at which the French will have to wait to assert their rights to retirement, while 115 spoke against and 29 abstained.
The vote came at the end of a fifteen-hour parliamentary scuffle over that article, with the left having submitted hundreds of amendments to obstruct the debate and the right resorting to an exceptional device that allows them to be skipped.
The Labor Minister, Olivier Dussopt, was satisfied but prudent, aware that this partial progress for his project was based on support from the right that will be essential for him to move forward in the conciliation phase between the two parliamentary chambers.
Dussopt considered that it was "a vote of responsibility by the Senate, which has opted to follow the Government", and expressed his wish that all the articles can be discussed and adopted between now and the deadline for processing in the Senate, midnight on Sunday.
But the big winner of the night was the head of the parliamentary group of the classic right-wing party The Republicans, Bruno Retailleau, whose senators were the fundamental support of article 7: 127 spoke in favor and only 2 against.
Beyond this vote and the parliamentary process, which could end next week, the great stumbling block for Macron are the massive street protests organized by all the unions gathered in a union that is quite unprecedented in France.
Last Tuesday, the sixth day of mobilizations was the largest since the beginning of the movement in January due to the number of protesters: 1.28 million, according to the Ministry of the Interior, 3.5 million, according to the CGT.
It is true that the power plants did not paralyze the country, as they had announced, but they have called two new days of action, on Saturday March 11 and Wednesday March 15, and they asked Macron to receive them urgently, whom they are demanding the withdrawal of his draft pension reform.
Meanwhile, strikes continue in certain sectors, particularly public transport and energy. In transport, both today and tomorrow, 20% of flights at Charles de Gaulle will be canceled and 30% at Orly, the second airport in Paris, as well as at Beauvais, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Marseille, Montpellier, Nice and Toulouse.
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