France: Macron Overrides Parliament, Passes Pension Reform

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The Facts

  • On Thursday, French Pres. Emmanuel Macron — invoking Article 49.3 — sidestepped a lower house of parliament vote on his controversial pension reform plan, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.

  • The decision was met with widespread protests across the nation, with French police allegedly using batons, tear gas, and water cannons to clear thousands of demonstrators in Paris’s Place de la Concorde Thursday night.

The Spin

Narrative A

The French people are reigniting a centuries-old spirit as they fight back against autocratic ruler Emmanuel Macron. While he incessantly purports to be a proponent of democracy, Macron took matters into his own hands by raising France's retirement age. Not only did Macron abuse his power by sidestepping a parliamentary vote, but he also subverted the will of the French people in a complete slap in the face to democracy.

Narrative B

While controversial, leaders must make difficult and unpopular decisions for the long-term betterment of society, and Emmanuel Macron did just that in his efforts to save France’s pension problem. France’s demographics make it nearly impossible to maintain the status quo as the ratio of workers to retirees shows insolvency in the near future. Macron made a tough political decision, but it will pay off.

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