Macron goes for nuclear option: French government overrides parliament over pensions

French President Emmanuel Macron has got his pension reform out of the way early in his second term, but at what cost? His prime minister has triggered a vote of no-confidence rather than holding a straight up-and-down vote on the bill itself. How will the railroading through parliament of a plan that's sparked France's biggest strikes and demonstrations in years test the legitimacy of a term-limited president and his minority government in future dealings with the unions and lawmakers?

Under Charles de Gaulle's 1958 constitution, the French president is perfectly within his rights to force parliament's hand. But was it smart? We ask why Macron was so hellbent on raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 and whether it is all over. Unions vow to keep on striking and marching: even though the bill has passed, the street could still force the government to backtrack.

And what about the long run, if the president breaks the resolve of unions and parliament? Who stands to gain? The 2019 Yellow Vest movement rued out-of-touch elites, a theme championed by the far-right's Marine Le Pen. Could Macron's method be a vote-winner for the populists who oppose him?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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