French strikers make last ditch bid to foil pension age hike

French strikers are in their last ditch attempt to prevent lawmakers from passing a pension reform bill that raises the age of retirement to 64 from 62.

The strikers will also try to muster the number as their protest strength started faltering on Saturday with low turnout.

Striking railway, refinery and public sector workers last week failed to paralyze the country in the way that unions had hoped.

“We won’t have the same level of disturbances of public transport as during previous protest days,” Transport Minister Clement Beaune said on Tuesday, Agence France-Presse reported.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is staunchly pushing for the passage of the unpopular bill, is also facing challenge. His allies in the lower parliament need the support of the opposition Republicans party in order to pass the legislation, according to AFP.

Failure by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to find a workable majority in the lower house still leaves the government with an option.

Borne can invoke article 49.3 of the constitution to ram the legislation through without a vote, AFP reported.

The stakes are high, however, as analysts said this would deprive her and Macron of democratic legitimacy in the face of hostile public opinion and would also expose the government to a confidence vote, which it might lose.

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