UPDATE - French Senate adopts pension reform plan

UPDATE - French Senate adopts pension reform plan

Trade union leaders gather in front of parliament, to which draft bill will be transferred

CHANGES DECK, UPDATES WITH MORE DETAILS, EDITS THROUGHOUT

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) – The French Senate on Thursday adopted a pension reform plan by 193 votes to 114, local media reported.

The reform plan includes raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 in 2030 and requiring at least 43 years of work to be eligible for full pensions.

This outcome was expected since the Senate is majority right-wing.

The final version of the draft bill will be transferred to parliament, which will start debating in the afternoon.

A group of trade union members, including their leaders, gathered in front of the parliament in Paris, ahead of the debate, calling on the members of the parliament to reject the draft bill, according to the daily Le Figaro.

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, other ministers, and the parliamentary group heads of the political parties to decide whether to use Article 49.3 of the constitution to bypass the parliamentary process, it added.

Secretary-General of the General Labor Confederation Philippe Martinez told the broadcaster BFMTV, in front of the parliament, that the social movement would continue if the parliament adopts the reform plan or the Article 49.3 is used.

The government does not have the absolute majority in the parliament and risks seeing its draft bill rejected by the members of the parliament.

This may lead to one of the three options. First, the parliament may adopt the draft bill.

Second, the government may use Article 49.3 of the constitution to bypass the parliamentary process, which may result in a vote of no confidence from the opposition MPs.

Third, if the parliament rejects the draft bill, there are theories that the president may dissolve it.

Among 345 senators, 307 expressed their votes.

The plan triggered public outrage since it was revealed last year. Nationwide protests and strikes were held since January.

The ultimate deadline for the adoption of the reform project is March 26.

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