Macron Wins French Election, Leaving Door Open for Pension Reform

Macron’s victory does not necessarily mean that the French public supports retirement age increases.

Emmanuel Macron defeated his opponent Marine Le Pen by over five million votes yesterday. Macron took home 58.6% of the country’s votes, easily defeating Le Pen’s 41.4%.

Retirement reform was among the most heavily debated issues in the lead-up to the election. Macron had proposed raising the retirement age from 62 to 65 while Le Pen had proposed lowering the age.

A recent poll ahead of the election found 70% of respondents were opposed to Macron’s proposed age increase. Macron had tried to increase retirement age once before in December 2019 and faced the largest strike in modern French history.

France has a pay-as-you-go pension system in which a proportion of the salary of all current workers is taken out and paid to retirees directly, without investing the money. The system has been burdened by demographic shifts, and Macron is worried that the ratio of young workers to older retirees will make current payments unsustainable.

Whether Macron will make a second push remains to be seen. Shortly before the election, he hinted at potentially softening his stance and raising the retirement age to 64 instead of 65.

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