France’s unpopular pensions reform survived a no confidence vote against the government in the National Assembly on Monday – by just nine votes.

A successful censure vote would have thrown out the reform as well as the government of PM Elisabeth Borne, but this does not mean that France will get back to normal any time soon.

When the voting figures were announced, several leftist deputies held up placards with slogans such as ‘we continue’ and ‘meet in the street,’ a reference to expected civil unrest.

The government had forced through the legislation raising the retirement age to 64 from 62 by using a parliamentary manoeuvre – known as 49.3 – that requires no vote.

“The 49.3 is not the invention of a dictator”, claimed Elisabeth Borne. “Hate and brutality should have no place in parliamentary debate,” she added.

Macron’s government is hoping that street protests and strikes against the reform will fizzle out, but, for the moment at least, strikes and stoppages are set to continue. About two-thirds of French voters oppose the raising of the retirement age.

FILE PHOTO: President Macron Reuters