Macron won the battle for the pension reform at great cost for him and for France

After passing a series of unpopular pension reforms that have sparked months of protest, French president Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on April 17.

Macron won the battle for the pension reform at great cost for him and for France

On April 17, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed France after a series unpopular pension reforms sparked protests across France for months. The speech was given after France's Constitutional Court ruled in favor Macron's government on last week.

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In a speech broadcast on television, Macron said that he "understood anger" from the protestors. However, he remained confident in his new law "to guarantee everyone's retirement."

A recent poll showed that the months-long political turmoil has seriously damaged the reputation of President Obama. His approval rating dropped to a new low, a record 23%.

The French pension system has been overhauled, and the retirement age in France was raised from 62 years old to 64. Macron said that they were necessary to reduce the impact of France's ageing population. The number of French citizens aged 85 and over is expected to increase by 90% between 2030 and 2050.

Protesters smashed pots and pans in Paris to drown out Macron's speech. The protests are now broader than just the retirement age. They have become a forum for worker grievances over wage stagnation and reduced benefit.

Macron said that the current economic conditions are "not allowing many French people to lead a good life."

The Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure said Macron’s actions showed contempt towards the protest movement. Labor unions and other advocacy group vowed to continue protesting, calling for massive demonstrations on Labor Day, May 1.

"Macron tried to intimidate the whole of France at night. A thief! A display of absurd arrogance. --Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted, after Macron signed the pension reform law.

Macron may be able to declare victory over his pension reforms but he could have doomed the ambitions of his centrist party for the next elections. The chaotic political scene is reportedly energizing Marine Le Pen's base.

Recent polling indicates that Le Pen would have beaten Macron by more than 10 points in a head to head matchup, despite Macron winning the election by 17 points.

Many in the French media have referred to Macron's victory as a Pyrrhic one, after the Greek King who defeated the Romans and lost his entire army.

On January 10, the government announced that it would move forward with raising the retirement age to 64 from 62, calling it an essential step for adequately funding the pension system.

On January 31, a million protestors took to the streets in a major demonstration organized by labor unions to express their opposition to pension reforms. This is one of the first large protests against the proposed legislation.

After a heated debate in both lower and upper houses of the French parliament, the pension reforms are now being considered by the French Senate.

On March 16, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that the government will invoke Article 49.3 to force the legislation through the parliament.

Macron is facing two no-confidence votes, both from the extreme left and right. Protests and strikes are raging in France. Both votes are narrowly won by Macron.

March 28th: Protestors block all access to Eiffel Tower and Louvre. Local officials deploy a record number of 13,000 Paris police officers in order to deal with the largest protests ever.

April 5: French unions leaders meet Borne in a last-minute meeting before reforms are approved, but the negotiations break down quickly.

Macron will visit China on April 8, to meet President Xi Jinping, and discuss a potential peace plan for the conflict in Ukraine. Protesters accuse him to try and divert attention from domestic issues.

April 14: The French Constitutional Court rules in favor most of the reforms proposed, allowing Macron to sign the law.

Macron signss the reforms into law on April 15.

Macron visited Beijing in spite of protests in France which show no signs of stopping

Macron wins narrowly a vote of no confidence as protestors shut France down

The French workers are organizing a wave of new strikes against the pension reform