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France’s Macron faces another test with no-confidence vote

After weeks of protests against pension reform, the move sparked demonstrations and unrest in Paris and across the country. Hundreds of people were arrested.

His office said that Macron was standing firm and had called the heads the Senate upperhouse and National Assembly to tell them he wanted pension reform to be to the “end of its democratic process”.

Macron also said to them that the government had been mobilized to “protect” parliamentarians who were under pressure before the election.


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However, Monday’s vote may show the anger towards Macron’s government but they’re unlikely to bring it down.

Two motions of confidence were filed by Opposition lawmakers in Parliament on Friday.

The far-left Nupes alliance signed a multiparty motion of no confidence that was proposed by Liot, a centrist group. The far-right National Rally party in France, which has 88 National Assembly Members, filed a no confidence motion hours later.


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However, even though Macron’s party lost the absolute majority of the lower house in elections last year it was unlikely that the multi-party motion would be approved – unless a surprising alliance of legislators from all sides is formed.

Leaders of the conservative Les Republicains party (LR) have ruled out such a coalition. None of them had supported Friday’s first motion of no confidence.

However, the party was still under pressure.

The southern city of Nice saw the ransacking of the political office of Eric Ciotti (leader of Les Republicains), and tags left warning of riots if it was not supported.

“They want to use violence to pressure me into voting on Monday.” Ciotti posted on Twitter, “I will not yield to the new disciples the Terror.”

BROAD ALLIANCE

Macron’s reform raises the retirement age by two years, to 64. This is what the government considers essential in order to keep the system solvent.

Even if Monday’s no confidence vote is passed, a large alliance of France’s major unions said that it would continue to mobilize to push for a U-turn. Thursday will see a day of industrial action across the country.

Laurent Berger, the leader of the moderate CFDT labor union, said that the reform to pensions was not a failure but a disaster for the government.

Philippe Martinez, the leader of the CGT labor union of hard-left CGT, stated on BFM television that while he condemns violence, Macron is responsible for the “responsibility” if there is such high levels of anger.

According to an IFOP Journal du Dimanche poll of 28% approval, Macron’s approval rating has fallen four points to 28% in the last month, which is their lowest level since the Yellow Vest crisis.

Over the weekend, strikes at the country’s oil refineries continued, raising concerns about fuel shortages.

According to Rene-Jean Souquet-Grumey (official for Mobilians petrol station federation), less than 4% of French stations were experiencing disruptions in supply.

Rolling strikes continue on the railways. However, rubbish has piled up in Paris streets after refuse workers joined the action.

Le Parisien newspaper reported Bruno Le Maire, Finance Minister, said that Monday’s vote prospects would be a “moment of truth” and stated: “I don’t think there will ever be a majority to overthrow the government. This will be the moment of truth.”

“Is pension reform worth taking down the government and creating political disorder?” The answer is clearly “no.” He added that everyone must accept his responsibilities.”

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