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French Senate passes pension reform bill despite nationwide protest

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-03-12 14:52

Police officers gather during a march against the government's pension reform plan in Paris, France, March 11, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS -- The French Senate on Saturday approved the country's pension reform plan, despite the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken to the streets to protest a significant policy change that could define President Emmanuel Macron's second five-year term.

The upper house of the French Parliament adopted the bill by 195 votes to 112, whose headline measure is lifting the retirement age by two years to 64.

A committee will hammer out a final draft, which will then be sent to the Senate and the National Assembly for a final vote, likely on Thursday, local media reported.

"After hundreds of hours of discussions, the Senate adopted the pension reform plan. It is a decisive step to make reform happen that will ensure the future of our pension system," French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on Twitter.

Borne said she was "totally committed to ensuring the text will be definitively adopted in the coming days."

On Saturday, some 368,000 people demonstrated across France against the government's plan, the French Ministry of the Interior said.

The railway service in France was "heavily" disrupted, according to the French national railway company SNCF. However, metros and other public transport in the Ile-de-France region, where the French capital Paris is located, ran as scheduled.

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