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Opponents Make Last-Ditch Effort to Stop French Pension Law

Protesters march during a demonstration, Monday, May 1, 2023 in Paris. AP
Protesters march during a demonstration, Monday, May 1, 2023 in Paris. AP

Opponents of a law that would raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 are making last-ditch plans to prevent the change that is set to take effect in September.

The country’s main labor unions on Tuesday called for another round of nationwide demonstrations and strikes on June 6. May Day protests across France on Monday drew either 800,000 people — that’s according to French authorities — or 2.3 million people, which was the estimate given by organizers.

France’s top constitutional body is expected to rule Wednesday on a request from opposition lawmakers to start a lengthy process that could ultimately lead to a bill or a referendum to restore the minimum retirement age of 62.

With President Emmanuel Macron having demonstrated his determination to press on with the unpopular pension reform, here’s a look at the next steps for his government and the plan’s opponents.

The Constitutional Council’s role is to assess whether the opposition’s request over bringing the retirement age back to 62 meets the legal conditions for a potential referendum. If so, supporters would have nine months to collect signatures from at least 4.8 million, or 10%, of voters.

Related Story: Violent French Pension Protests Erupt as 1M Demonstrate

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