The French government struggles to survive in the face of two confidence votes

France’s government is struggling to survive against no-confidence motions tabled by politicians who are furious that President Emmanuel Macron used special constitutional powers to force through an unpopular bill raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 without give them a vote.

Members of the National Assembly will vote Monday afternoon on two no-confidence motions: one from the far-right National Rally and the other, more threatening, from a small group that has rallied support from the left.

The Senate, dominated by conservatives who support the retirement plan, approved the legislation last week.

Each of the no-confidence motions needs the backing of 287 politicians in the National Assembly, the lower house, to pass.

Although the motions seem unlikely to succeed, the climate of protest Macron’s pension reforms have sparked in parliament and on the streets means the outcome of the vote in the National Assembly is not guaranteed. No such motion has been successful since 1962.

France Pensions Stress
Protesters chant slogans in Paris (Lewis Joly/AP)

Macron’s centrist alliance still has the most seats in the National Assembly.

A minority of GOP politicians could stray from the party line, but it remains to be seen whether they are willing to topple the Macron government.

Tensions in the political arena are echoing in the streets, marked by protests and intermittent strikes in various sectors, from transport to energy and sanitation workers.

Garbage in Paris is piling up and reeking of rotten food on the 15th day of a collectors’ strike.

If the votes of no confidence fail, the bill becomes law. If the majority agrees, it would spell the end of the retirement reform plan and force the government to resign.

A new cabinet would be appointed.

Macron could retain Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne if he wanted to; no other names have been floated.

Borne has borne the brunt of the opposition’s fury and will have to defend himself against politicians on Monday.

If the vote of no confidence passes, it would be a major blow to Macron, likely to weigh on the remainder of his second term, which ends in 2027.


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