The French Government Survived a Vote of No ConfidenceEU | March 21, 2023, Tuesday // 08:27| views
The French government under President Emmanuel Macron has survived two no-confidence votes in parliament, but still faces intense pressure over a controversial pension reform, AFP reported.
Last week, Prime Minister Elisabeth Bourne angered the opposition by announcing the government would push through the reform without a vote in parliament, prompting accusations of anti-democratic behavior.
The lower part of the 577-seat National Assembly rejected the vote by the centrist LIOT coalition, also supported by the left, by just nine votes, far less than expected.
It then overwhelmingly rejected a motion tabled by the far-right National Union (RN), with just 94 votes in favor.
The rejection of the requests means that the reform to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 has already been passed by the legislature. It still needs to be signed by Macron and could face legal challenges.
This is far from the end of the biggest domestic crisis in Macron's second term, who has yet to make a public comment on the dispute.
"We have never gone as far in building a compromise as with this reform," Bourne told parliament ahead of the vote, saying the use of the bypass clause was "deeply democratic" under France's constitution created by the post-war leader Charles de Gaulle.
A new series of strikes and protests has been announced for Thursday, which is expected to bring public transport to a standstill in several areas again.
A garbage collector strike is taking place in Paris, resulting in unsightly and unsanitary piles of garbage piling up in the French capital.
The future of Bourne, appointed France's second female prime minister by Macron following his election victory over the far-right for a second term, remains in doubt after she failed to secure a parliamentary majority for reform.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear when Macron will finally make a public comment on the events, amid reports he is considering an address to the nation.
Since Bourne referred to Art. 49, para. 3 of the constitution, in Paris and other cities there are daily protests, which sometimes turn violent.
A total of 169 people were arrested across the country on Saturday during spontaneous protests, including one that drew 4,000 people in the capital.
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