Macron’s government survives votes of no confidence

The centrist government of French President Emmanuel Macron survived Monday to two no-confidence votes pushed by opposition lawmakers to protest the use of special constitutional power to force the budget bill at the National Assembly without a vote.

The left-wing Nupes coalition and far-right National Rally had filed two separate no-confidence motions.

Only a minority of lawmakers approved both motions, well below the required 289 votes, or half of the seats in the lower house of the French parliament. The right-wing opposition party, the Republicans, did not support the move.

The bill for next year’s budget is therefore considered adopted without a vote and will now be discussed in the Senate.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne justified her decision to invoke Article 49.3 of the French Constitution.

“It’s not an easy thing, but in such difficult times, that decision was necessary,” he said. “We had to provide the French with a budget in line with their democratic choices and consistent with our political direction”.

Macron’s centrist alliance lost its parliamentary majority in June, making it much more difficult for his government to get laws passed conventionally in the lower house of parliament, where it faces multiple amendments to the opposition’s budget.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said the use of Article 49.3 shows the “weakness of power and, above all, its inability to federate, to accept listening and exchanging public policies – in short, the ‘inability to play the democratic game “.

Le Pen denounced the “refusal of the government to discuss, to accept compromises”.

Green lawmaker Cyrielle Chatelain, representing the Nupes coalition, strongly criticized the budget bill as it does not go far enough to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment.

“Prime Minister, he is lying,” he said, denouncing the government’s “inaction” on climate change. “Your action can be counted in the number of days of drought … and acres of burnt forest.”

The debate in the National Assembly comes after weeks of wage strikes that have limped refineries and fuel depots, triggering gasoline shortages. Last week, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, demanding wage increases to keep pace with inflation. On Thursday and November 10, the left-wing CGT union called for another two days of “national mobilization”.

Europeans have seen energy bills and food prices rise due to the Russian war in Ukraine.

Inflation in France is at 6.2%, the lowest in the 19 eurozone countries, and the proposed budget for next year is based on an expected growth of 1% next year, down from 2. , 7% estimated this year.

Despite losing the majority, Macron’s centrist alliance still has the most seats in the National Assembly, with 250. Nupes is the largest opposition force with 151 seats, while the National Rally party has 89 seats.

Another vote of no confidence, this time regarding the government’s decision to force through the National Assembly the bill on the social security budget, which was also supposed to be rejected late Monday.

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