PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron is “back-paddling” in his offer to soften his planned pension reform to seduce voters but would still execute his plans if re-elected, the head of France’s far-right Rassemblement National party Jordan Bardella said on Tuesday.
Campaigning in France’s former industrial heartland, Macron on Monday said he was prepared to readjust his planned pension reform, which is at the core of his programme for re-election.
“I am ready to change the timeline and say we don’t necessarily have to do a reform by 2030 if I feel that people are too anxious”, Macron said, adding that he was also prepared to “open the door” on pushing the pension aged to 64 rather to 65, his current proposal.
“He probably realises that it is a brutal and unheard-of social policy”, Bardella, an ally of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, told France 2 television, adding that he still believed Macron would go on to push up the retirement age to 65.
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen traded blows on Monday as they seek to appeal to left-leaning voters who now face the tough decision whether to give their vote to a far-right populist or to a liberal many opponents branded a “president of the rich”. [L2N2W90B5]
(Reporting by Sarah Morland, editing by Tassilo Hummel)