French pension reform caused schism between Macron, society: Le Pen
French far-right official Marine Le Pen says her opponent, Emmanuel Macron, has caused a rift between him and the French people thought the controversial pension reform plans.
The French government's decision on the pension reform led to the total deterioration of relations between the French people and President Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing National Rally parliamentary group, said on Saturday.
"The problem is that Emmanuel Macron got completely 'bunkerized,' he can no longer leave the Elysee without drawing the ire of the people who he refuses to listen to and whose will he refuses to respect," Le Pen said during an interview with the BFMTV broadcaster.
"[He] generated this anger and it is he who is the cause of this disorder, the chaos. I believe that there is a total breakdown between Emmanuel Macron and the French people today," she added.
As per Le Pen, Democracy means respecting the people's opinion, and France is currently "more of a failed democracy" as the will of the French people has been marginalized.
"Emmanuel Macron is losing popularity because he does not respect the will of the people. If the people say they don't want this reform, then it must be put on hold!" she explained.
A poll carried out by BVA Group revealed Friday that Macron's popularity plunged to a record low since he took office, as only 26% of French citizens support him following the implementation of the controversial pension reform.
The French president was booed by a crowd of protesters during a visit to Alsace, his first regional trip since Paris adopted the pension reform law.
The deeply controversial legislation was put into effect after getting published overnight in France’s official journal and was pushed through by an executive order issued by the French Prime Minister, to be successfully approved by the Constitutional Council on April 14.
The Council found the law, including the clause which raised the retirement age from 62 to 64, to be essentially in line with the country’s constitution.
The reform plan has led to frequent violent protests in multiple French cities with French Unions also promising mass protests against Macron’s government during Labor Day on May 1.
The fight to put the bill into effect ended up being the biggest domestic obstacle of Macron's second term, due to overwhelming public resistance to the reforms and the President's declining popularity.
An anti-democratic win
Macron’s victory is a double-edged sword. Analysts believe that although he was able to push through a key neoliberal reform, the fierce resistance he experienced could translate into a huge personal cost for the President.
His approval ratings have hit their lowest levels and many French voters have become enraged by their President’s decision to bypass a parliamentary vote on the law, which has been criticized as “anti-democratic” by his opponents.
Two out of three French people are opposed to having to work two extra years to be paid their pension.
Macron said the reforms are necessary to reduce pension deficits, which are expected to reach $14.8 billion by 2030, according to government figures.
Moreover, he revealed Monday that the new pension reforms will come into full effect in fall 2023.
"As you know, the Constitutional Council on Friday recognized the pension reform as legitimate. Of course, I immediately promulgated this law. The pension reform will come into force in autumn," Marcon said in a public address to the nation.