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National Assembly speaker rules out vote to overturn French pension law


By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) – The speaker of France’s National Assembly and member of President Emmanuel Macron’s party said on Wednesday she would not allow a vote on an opposition-sponsored motion to overturn a new law that raised the retirement age.

Macron’s government in March used a special constitutional measure to force through its reform lifting the retirement age to 64 without a final vote in parliament.

The opposition accused the government of ignoring the rights of parliament.

While the motion to reverse the pension law was always unlikely to succeed because the Senate would have opposed it and Macron would never have signed it into law, a majority vote in the lower chamber would have been an embarrassment for the president.

A debate and vote had been scheduled for Thursday.

“There will be no reversal of the pension reform,” Speaker Yael Braun-Pivet told BFM television.

“I will declare that the amendments proposed are not valid,” she said.

Macron’s party has for weeks said the French constitution decrees lawmakers cannot vote on legislation that would be detrimental to public finances without measures to offset those costs.

The government projected that without the reform, the pension system would record an annual deficit of 13.5 billion euros ($14.44 billion) by 2030.

The LIOT grouping of centrist lawmakers said disallowing the opposition vote was a “denial of democracy”.

On Tuesday, 281,000 people took to the streets across France for a 14th time since January as trade unions made a final attempt to pressure lawmakers into overturning the legislation.

($1 = 0.9349 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Richard Lough and Barbara Lewis)

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