President of France Emmanuel Macron introduced a highly unpopular bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 on Thursday by bypassing parliament and invoking a special constitutional power.

Lawmakers screamed, their voices shaking with emotion, as Macron made the risky move, which is expected to trigger swift no-confidence motions in his government. Riot police cars zoomed past outside the National Assembly, their sirens wailing.

The proposed pension changes have prompted major strikes and protests across the country since January. Macron, who made it the flagship of his second term, argued that the reform is needed to prevent the pension system from plunging into deficit as France’s population ages and life expectancy increases.

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The decision to invoke the special power was taken during a cabinet meeting at the Elysee presidential palace, just minutes before the scheduled vote, as Macron was not guaranteed a majority in France’s lower house of parliament.

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Then, when Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne tried to formally announce the decision in the National Assembly, left-wing members broke into the Marseillaise, the French national anthem, and delayed her speech. The speaker had to temporarily suspend the session to restore order.

“Today there is uncertainty” about whether a majority would have voted for the bill “by just a few votes,” Borne explained. “We can’t take the risk of seeing 175 hours of parliamentary debate collapse? We can’t gamble on the future of our pensions. That reform is necessary,” she says.

Borne said her government is accountable to parliament, prompting boos from opposition ranks.

“In a few days I have no doubt… there will be one or more no-confidence motions. It will actually be a proper vote and therefore parliamentary democracy will have the last word,” she added.

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France was rocked by nationwide protests against the pension reform with some turning violent

Lawmakers on the left and far right quickly confirmed their next moves.

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Marine Le Pen said her National Rally party would file a motion of no confidence, and Communist lawmaker Fabien Roussel said a motion is “ready” on the left.

“The mobilization will continue,” Roussel said. “This reform must be stopped.”

To pass, a motion of no confidence must be approved by at least half of the seats in the House of Commons, which is 287 now. In such a case, which would be the first since 1962, the government must resign.

If motions of no confidence were to succeed, the pension bill would be considered passed.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate passed the bill in a vote of 193-114, a number that was largely expected because the conservative majority of the upper house of parliament is in favor of raising the retirement age.

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Parisian streets are piled high with garbage during the retirement age strike

Macron’s alliance lost its parliamentary majority last year, forcing the government to count on conservative lawmakers to approve the bill. Leftist and far-right lawmakers are strongly opposed and conservatives are divided, making the outcome unpredictable.

The French leader wants to raise the retirement age so workers put more money into the system, which the government says is on track to run a deficit.

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Macron has promoted the pension changes as central to his vision to make the French economy more competitive. The reform would raise the minimum retirement age and require 43 years of work to receive a full pension, among other measures.

Nearly 500,000 people protested the bill across the country on Wednesday.

Economic challenges have caused widespread concern in Western Europe. In Britain on Wednesday, teachers, junior doctors and public transport workers went on strike for higher wages to match rising prices. And Spain’s left-wing government joined unions to announce a “historic” deal to save its pension system by raising social security costs for higher earners

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