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France. Vote of no confidence in Elisabeth Borne’s government rejected

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The French National Assembly on Monday rejected both motions of the opposition to express no confidence in the government in connection with the pension reform pushed by the cabinet of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. The result of the vote is tantamount to the adoption of the controversial law. The government took full responsibility. We have never gone this far in building a compromise, said the head of the French government before the vote. During her speech, some deputies left the hall in protest. In response to the events in the parliament, protesters clashed with the police in the evening in Paris.

The first motion of no confidence in the government was submitted by the small group LIOT, and it was also supported by the radical left-wing NUPES coalition. The second application was submitted by a far-right formation Marine LePen National Union (RN).

The first motion was rejected by the National Assembly on Monday evening by nine votes. 278 deputies voted for the dismissal of the government of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. For the government to fall, an absolute majority of deputies (287 votes) would have to vote for a vote of no confidence.

On Monday, the French National Assembly held a vote of no confidence in the government of Elisabeth BornePAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

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“With this motion of no confidence, nothing has been settled. Hundreds of thousands of people who gather every day will not stop because nine small votes are missing, said Mathilde Panot, MP of the left-wing NUPES coalition after the vote. Panot added that in the eyes of the French “the government is dead” and called on President Emmanuel Macron to hold a referendum on pension reform.

Next, the motion of the National Union was put to the vote. He too was rejected. 94 deputies voted for it.

The rejection of both proposals by the National Assembly is equivalent to the adoption of the pension reform.

“We are approaching the end of the democratic process of this fundamental reform for our country. I have humbly and seriously committed myself and my government to this task,” tweeted Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who went to the Elysée Palace after the voting to meet President Emmanuel Macron. Members of the left-wing NUPES coalition announced that they would file a complaint with the Constitutional Council, which upholds the French constitution. In the process of introducing the new law, President Macron and the government decided to use Art. 49.3 of the Constitution, which made it possible to skip the vote in the National Assembly on the draft pension reform.

Unrest in the streets of Paris

After the announcement of the results of the vote, the first tensions broke out between the demonstrators gathered in Place Vauban in Paris and the police, who used tear gas. In the late afternoon, ahead of the parliamentary vote, numerous security forces were deployed near the National Assembly.

Monday riots in ParisPAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

Monday riots in ParisPAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

Monday riots in ParisPAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

One of the main CGT trade unions reacted to the rejection of motions of no confidence in the government, claiming that it did not change anything. Trade unions are calling for more mobilization on the streets and in the workplace, with further demonstrations against the pension reform planned for Thursday.

READ MORE: Protests in France. In one region, half of the stations have no fuel

Opposition to the pension reform regularly mobilizes hundreds of thousands of protesters on the streets of many French cities, most notably in Paris. The government is facing a major political crisis, on par with the “yellow vest” protests that erupted in late 2018.

Controversial move by the French government

Two motions of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Borne, considered on Monday in the French National Assembly, are the result of controversial solutions adopted by the government last week, aimed at pushing through an equally controversial pension reform. In the process of introducing a new law, the president Emmanuel Macron and the government decided to use Art. 49 sec. 3 of the Constitution, which gives the possibility of omitting the vote on the bill in the National Assembly.

The Prime Minister may, after deliberations of the Council of Ministers, submit a motion of confidence to the National Assembly in connection with the vote on a specific text. In such a case, the text shall be deemed to have been adopted unless, within 24 hours after the question of confidence has been raised, a motion of censure is tabled and the motion is adopted in the manner provided for in the preceding paragraph.

This step was sharply criticized by both the left and the far right, who accused the authorities of disregarding parliament and undemocratic decisions. However, dissatisfaction was also expressed by part of the centre-right, where the government initially counted the votes for the reform before reaching for the aforementioned article.

French Prime Minister: The government took all responsibility

Prior to the start of the vote of no confidence in the government, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne spoke in the National Assembly. When the head of the government appeared on the rostrum, some deputies from the opposition parties left the meeting room as a sign of protest.

The government took full responsibility. We have never come so far in building a compromise on the pension reform, defended the French prime minister. She emphasized at the same time that it “is aware of the effort it requires from many” citizens France.

She also referred to the wave of criticism that fell on the government for omitting the vote on the reform in the lower house of parliament. – Those who regard Article 49.3 of the Constitution as an anti-democratic tool have short memories. They forget that it was precisely the weakening of parliament and the inability to legislate in emergencies that led some to question parliamentary democracy and even democracy in general, she said.

Elisabeth Borne’s speech in the French ParliamentPAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

Controversial pension reform

The act introducing changes to the pension system increases the age at which you can go to retirement, from 62 to 64 years. Reuters reminds that in the European Union France is one of the countries where people retire the earliest. The government estimates that this deprives the labor market of people who are experienced, competent and fully fit. Moreover, the aging of the French population threatens to implode the pension system.

Use of Art. 49.3 is not uncommon in France. Prime Minister Michel Rocard, who headed a minority government from 1988 to 1991, used it 28 times. This is a solution that allows the government to push through legislation while taking the risk of being overthrown, because the opposition has 24 hours to submit a motion of no confidence, reminds “Economist”. He predicts that President Emmanuel Macron will come out of this confrontation weakened and will have to face serious social unrest.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

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