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The French government has decided to trigger a special constitutional process and skip a vote on pension reform scheduled for this afternoon in the National Assembly, it announced, amid boos. Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne.

Recourse to Article 49.3 of the Constitution ensures that The bill which raises the retirement age to 64 years will be approved. But it shows at the same time that President Emmanuel Macron and his government they failed to gather the required support in the National Assembly.

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“The prime minister (…) is doing this because she is convinced that this reform is necessary to secure the future of the pension system”, a colleague of hers said.

When Bourne arrived in the National Assembly chamber and attempted to read a statement, left-wing MPs began singing the national anthem, booed her and held up placards reading “No to 64” – the bill’s retirement age.

Bourne confirmed that the government will use the special procedure, triggering Article 49.3 of the Constitution which provides for the adoption of the bill by presidential decree. He justified this decision by saying that “we cannot gamble with the future of our pensions and this reform is necessary”.

Immediately after, the opposition MPs left the room and the meeting ended.

“This government is not worthy of the Fifth Republic, the French republic. By the end, the parliament was ridiculed, humiliated,” said Fabian Roussel, the head of the Communist Party.

Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure had earlier told Reuters that invoking the article could spark “uncontrollable anger”after many weeks of strikes and demonstrations against the bill.

Opposition parties could table a motion of no confidence against the government, but it is unlikely to pass since most conservative MPs would support it in such a case.

Youth march to the National Assembly, in protest

At the same time, Frabout 1,500 young people march to the French National Assemblyin Paris, protesting the approval without a vote of the pension reform.

Shouting slogans like “Manu, Manu, with 49.3 or not, we don’t want your reform” or “The National Assembly can vote, the street will abolish it” (including the reform) the demonstrators started from the area where the Sorbonne University is located, as reported by an AFP journalist.

Representatives of many youth organizations participated in the mobilization. “The goal is to go all the way to the National Assembly so that the voice of young people is heard,” said Eleanor Schmidt, the movement’s spokeswoman. For Matis Avershenk, 23, a member of the far-left NPA organization, “the government intends to pass (the reform) by force. Whatever is done in Parliament, the street can and will overturn it.”

Minutes before the National Assembly session was to begin, the cabinet convened and gave the government the go-ahead to invoke Article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows a bill to be passed without a vote.

Until today, President Emmanuel Macron hinted that he did not want to invoke this article and preferred to leave the reform to the judgment of the parliamentarians, although the governing coalition does not have an absolute majority in the National Assembly and would need to rely on the votes of the parliamentarians of the traditional right, the Republicans.