Macron’s government in doubt as opposition parties file no-confidence motions

Opposition parties in France’s National Assembly, including Marine Le Pen’s populist National Rally (RN) and centrist group Liot, tabled no-confidence motions against President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Friday after using a controversial mechanism to push through a controversial pension increase. age without a vote on Thursday.

The fate of the government of Emmanuel Macron, who once proclaimed he would rule France like Jupiter, the Roman king of the gods, was called into question on Friday as a growing coalition from all political walks of life lined up to propose censorship measures (no confidence) in his government in response to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s invocation of article 49.3 of the constitution to ram through legislation to raise the retirement age of 62 to 64 without a vote after it emerged he would not win a majority in the National Assembly.

If a censorship measure were passed, President Macron’s minority government in the National Assembly would collapse and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne would be forced to resign, putting Mr Macron’s political future in question just a year after the beginning of his second term, The Parisian reports.

Currently, Marine Le Pen’s populist right-wing National Rally (RN) and the Liot group of centrist deputies in the French parliament have tabled censorship measures.

In a statement, the RN said: “While the French are massively demonstrating their opposition to this reform, the national representation has at no time been able to comment on this text which is, despite the legality of the process, a serious attack on democratic principles.

The motion by Liot, a small group of just 20 AN members made up of centre-left, centre-right and Corsican nationalist parties, was co-signed by the NUPES coalition led by far-left socialist Jean- Luc Mélenchon, who is often compared to Bernie Sanders in America or former Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn in Britain.

“The vote on this motion will allow us to get out of a deep political crisis,” said group boss Liot Bertrand Pancher.

Mélenchon, who is no longer a member of the assembly, said that “we have decided to give every chance to censorship, to withdraw our own motion in favor of LIOT’s motion, a decision taken last night by the group “.

For a motion of censure to succeed in the National Assembly, it must receive 287 favorable votes. Together, the Liot group, the National Rally and the NUPES coalition have a total of 259 members within the parliamentary body.

Crucially, the establishment right Les Républicains (LR), which played a key role in preventing the minority Macron government from securing a majority for its pension reform plans, has yet to officially support either the other motions.

LR President Eric Ciotti, however, said his group would not support any motion of censure, saying that “the crisis situation in the country would not tolerate… a fatal blow to our democracy”.

Still, it’s unclear whether all members of the 61-member party will vote at the same rate, with the party’s third-highest-ranking member, Secretary General Aurélien Pradié, saying all MPs are “completely free to participate in another motion of censure”.

If the disparate political factions came together to pass any of the motions, not only would the pension reforms be thrown out, but the government would fall and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne would have to hand in her resignation to President Macron, who in turn would likely be forced to dissolve the parliament.

Pension reforms, which would raise the retirement age to 64 – an age that would still be lower than in other European countries such as Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom – have sparked protests organized by unions nationwide, which have seen some of the biggest protests in decades.

Spontaneous protests erupted across the country on Thursday evening following the government’s invocation of the loophole. Rioters clashed with police, destroyed storefronts and torched cities including Paris, Nantes and Marseille, resulting in some 310 arrests.

Rioters’ ability to start fires was greatly enhanced by a garbage collectors’ strike, which saw some 10,000 tonnes of rubbish dumped on the streets of Paris.

Protests continued throughout Friday, with activists attempting to block a major ring road around the French capital and others staging blockades, including at the port of Calais, which is responsible for traffic across the English Channel .

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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