The administration in France is being challenged by opposition groups.
PARIS — After forcing through a wildly unpopular pensions reform law last week, the administration of Emmanuel Macron is now facing multiple resolutions of no confidence in the National Assembly on Monday.
Over the weekend, protesters went to the streets in major cities after the government used a contentious constitutional manoeuvre to pass its pensions reform measure, a move that was largely perceived as likely to spark social upheaval. This week, industrial action is anticipated to cause disruptions in public transportation, refineries, universities, and garbage collection as trade unions attempt to pressure the government into abandoning the pensions overhaul.
Following a violent outburst by several thousand protestors opposing the change on Saturday in Paris, more than 100 individuals were detained.
Two votes of no confidence that might result in the resignation of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and her cabinet will be voted on by the 573 members of the French National Assembly on Monday. Even if a defeat would not require Macron to quit as president of France, a successful vote of no confidence would plunge Macron into a serious political crisis.
On Saturday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the change was “essential” for the country and urged on MPs to “face their obligations,” in an interview with Le Parisien.
Le Maire referred to the voting on Monday as “a moment of truth,” stating that there would not be a majority to overthrow the government. Is overthrowing the government and igniting political unrest over pension changes a wise idea? No, without a doubt, he continued.
Macron wants to prolong payments for a full pension and raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 in order to balance the pension system’s books. A major component of the French president’s second term, failing to approve the reform would have an impact on the remainder of his term.
His dependable lieutenant Borne stated on Thursday that the administration had chosen to use Article 49.3 of the constitution to pass legislation without a vote, ending weeks of vehement and bitter discussion. This announcement came amid scenes of rage and uprising in parliament. Yet, using Article 49.3 permitted legislators to submit a motion of no confidence within 24 hours.
All eyes are on the conservatives
After losing the majority in the National Assembly in last year’s parliamentary elections, Macron’s Renaissance party has since been the target of many no-confidence resolutions. This is the first time the various opposition parties have together filed a motion of no confidence, signalling the severity of the French situation.
As National Rally leader Marine Le Pen declared her party would back “all the motions of no confidence,” a tiny centrist opposition group tabled a cross-party resolution on Friday that was endorsed by leftwing parties and is anticipated to receive support from the extreme right party.
Bertrand Pancher, a centrist MP, introduced the proposal and stated, “A vote on this resolution would enable us to put an honourable end to a serious political crisis.
Given the severe political rifts in parliament, Macron’s opponents would require the support of 287 MPs to overthrow the administration. Nevertheless, they are unlikely to reach this threshold. The far-right National Rally, Macron’s Renaissance alliance, and the left-leaning Nupes coalition are all represented in the National Assembly.
A cross-party proposal would require the support of 27 conservative Les Républicains parliamentarians in addition to the left and extreme right to pass. But, according to a conservative MP who requested anonymity owing to the delicate nature of the subject, just 10 are expected to vote in favour of the resolution.
Another resolution of no confidence put up by the National Rally that is predicted to fail is also up for a vote by MPs.
The administration will still have to deal with a surge of protests this week and the possibility of further social upheaval even if it survives the ballot on Monday. A day of countrywide protests and strikes are scheduled for Thursday, and the extreme left CGT trade union on Friday called for “visible activities” in advance of those events.