France’s Macron faces another test with parliamentary votes on Monday According to Reuters


© Reuters. People attend a rally to protest the French government’s use of article 49.3, a special provision in the French Constitution, to push a pension reform bill through Parliament without a vote of legislators, in Nantes, France, March 18


By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) – President Emanuel Macron faces a pivotal moment on Monday as Parliament prepares to vote on motions of no confidence filed after his government bypassed parliament. on Thursday to push for an unpopular pension age increase.

The move comes after weeks of protests against the pension overhaul, which sparked three nights of unrest and protests in Paris and across the country, reminiscent of the Yellow Vest protests that erupted at the end of the year. 2018 because of high fuel prices.

However, while Monday’s votes may express anger towards Macron’s government, they are unlikely to bring it down.

Opposition lawmakers submitted two motions of no confidence to parliament on Friday.

The center group Liot has proposed a multi-party no-confidence motion, co-signed by the far-left Nupes coalition. Hours later, France’s far-right National Rally party, which has 88 members of Parliament, also filed a motion of no confidence.

But even if Macron’s party loses an absolute majority in the lower house in last year’s election, there is little chance the multi-party movement will pass – unless a surprise coalition of lawmakers established from all sides, from the extreme left to the extreme left. far-right.

The leaders of the conservative party Les Republicains (LR) have ruled out such a coalition. None of them funded the first no-confidence motion filed on Friday.

But the party still faces some pressure.

In the southern city of Nice, the political office of Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Republicains, was ransacked overnight and cards threatened riots if the movement failed to gain support.

“They want through violence to pressure my vote on Monday. I will never succumb to the new followers of Terror,” Ciotti wrote on Twitter.

Macron’s overhaul raised the pension age by two years to 64, which the government says is necessary to ensure the system doesn’t go bust.

A broad coalition of France’s main unions said they would continue to campaign to try to force a return to the changes. A nationwide day of industrial action is scheduled for Thursday.

Philippe Martinez, leader of the left-wing labor union CGT, told BFM television that he condemned the violence but that it was “Macron’s responsibility if the anger level is too high”.

A company spokesman said TotalEnergies refineries and storage facilities had 34% of operators on strike on Sunday morning.

Strikes continued on railways, while garbage piled up on the streets of Paris after workers refused to join the action.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Le Parisien newspaper, commenting on the prospect of Monday’s vote, that “I don’t think there will be a majority to bring down the government. But this will be the moment of truth. “.

“Is pension reform worth bringing down the government and causing political turmoil? The answer is clearly no. Everyone has to take responsibility,” he added.

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