Activists campaigning against pension reform were considering the next step on Thursday after France’s Constitutional Council rejected a second attempt to hold a referendum on the legal retirement age.
The nine-member constitutional body rejected the first proposal on April 14.
On Wednesday night, he rejected a last-ditch effort by more than 250 mostly left-wing MPs to stop President Emmanuel Macron’s retirement age from being raised from 62 to 64.
The council ruled that a common initiative referendum could not be used to derail policy.
Arthur Delaporte, one of the MPs who tabled the proposal, told the French newspaper Le Monde: “This decision was disappointing, even though we knew it could go wrong.”
“It’s also anxiety,” he added. “This failure raises questions about democracy and our institutions.
“Parliament failed to vote on pension reform, and now the Constitutional Council says a common initiative referendum is not suitable for such a serious issue as the retirement age.”
The deputy bloc got a second chance in the constitutional council because the law on raising the retirement age to 64 has not yet entered into force.
Their new proposal included more financial details on how to keep the retirement age at 62.
As the council delivered its verdict, protesters gathered on Place du Louvre outside the council chambers in central Paris.
In Bordeaux in southwestern France, the CGT union organized a rally in front of the courthouse. Demonstrations were organized in Brest and Kemper in northwestern France, as well as in Nîmes and Nice in southern France.
Unions and activists used the traditional May 1 rallies to express their opposition to Macron’s plan.
The French inter-union group also called for a new day of mobilization against the pension reform on June 6, two days before the presentation of the bill to repeal the text in the National Assembly.
But the protests are unlikely to convince Macron to change course.
On April 14, the Constitutional Council cleared the way for his demonstrative reform.
It said the government’s application of Article 49.3 – to bypass a vote in the National Assembly – was not unconstitutional.
“The joint use of established procedures was unusual but did not conflict with the legislative procedure of the constitution,” the council said.
The council, created in October 1958 with the task of reviewing the constitutionality of laws, was convened after the stormy adoption of Macron’s policies by the National Assembly.
Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne was forced to use Article 49.3 to push the bill through the lower house of parliament.
Bourne blamed MPs from Les Républicains (LR) for the last-minute decision to avoid a vote and unleash what is seen in French political circles as the nuclear option.
Less than an hour after the council’s decision, unions called on Macron not to implement the law, despite championing the measure in his first term in office and making it the basis of his program for his second and final term, which began in last May. .
But Macron passed the law, immediately provoking more anger among opponents.