Macron survives crucial no-confidence vote in parliament – POLITICO
Press play to listen to this article
Expressed by artificial intelligence.
PARIS — Emmanuel Macron’s government survived a vote of no confidence in the French parliament on Monday, after pushing through a deeply unpopular pensions overhaul without a vote last week, sparking outrage and spontaneous protests across the country.
In a high-stakes vote in the lower house of the French parliament, 277 MPs, mostly from the left and far-right, voted in favor of a cross-party no-confidence motion, short of the 287 votes needed to overthrow the government. A second motion, supported only by the far-right National Rally, is unlikely to garner enough votes.
Speaking before the votes, centrist MP Charles de Courson, one of the authors of the interpartisan motion, accused the Macron government of lacking “courage” during parliamentary debates.
“You could have submitted [your reform] to a vote, and you probably would have lost it, but that’s the game when you’re in a democracy,’ he told MPs.
The leader of Macron’s Renaissance parliamentary group, Aurore Bergé, denounced accusations that the government had failed to seek compromise with MPs and accused opposition parties of working against the common good.
“When people talk about a grand coalition, it should be for people to work together for the good of the country. It is the opposite that you are proposing to us… you want to bring our country to a standstill, in our institutions and… in the streets,” she said.
The no-confidence motions were proposed last week after Macron on Thursday authorized the use of a controversial constitutional maneuver to circumvent a vote in parliament on his pension reform bill. The French president wants to raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, in a bid to balance the books of the indebted French public pension system and bring the retirement age in France into line with that of other European countries such as Spain and Germany where it varies from 65 to 67 years.
The no-confidence motion passed in the National Assembly as industrial action disrupted flights, public transport, waste collection and refineries ahead of a nationwide day of protests on Thursday. Union leaders are hoping for a show of force against the government and have also warned that social unrest is likely to escalate after several protests in Paris have turned violent in recent days.
“I am sending this alert to the president, he must withdraw the bill before there is a disaster. [Our protests] have been very controlled from the start, but the temptation of violence, of radicalization… is there,” said CFDT trade unionist Laurent Berger. on Sunday.
While the government has survived efforts to overthrow it, speculation is rife that Macron will want to replace his embattled Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in a government reshuffle aimed at sprucing up his image. According to an IFOP-JDD poll published on Sunday, Macron’s popularity rating fell by 4 points in one month to 28%.
Monday’s no-confidence motions were widely seen as unlikely to pass as France’s National Assembly has been deeply divided since legislative elections last year. While Macron’s Renaissance party lost its absolute majority, opposition parties backing the no-confidence motion did not get enough votes as most of the conservative Les Républicains MPs refused to support it.
However, Republicans exposed their internal divisions and weakened leadership during the process, with several lawmakers ignoring the party line and voting in favor of one of the motions.
On Monday, one of the main rebels, the conservative deputy Aurélien Pradié, declared that it was necessary to vote in favor of the motion of censure to “get out of the chaos”.
“The Macron club did not understand what is happening. And if they have to be shaken up with a motion of censure, I will support it and I will lend my voice to those who feel slighted,” he told Europe 1 radio on Monday.