Paris – French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to face no-confidence votes early next week aimed at toppling his government and killing his reform of France’s pension system.
A group of centrist lawmakers opposed to Macron filed a motion of no confidence on Friday with the support of at least 58 members of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament. The far-right National Rally also presented its own motion of no confidence against the government on Friday.
The moves came less than 24 hours after Macron’s government invoked special constitutional powers to approve raising France’s retirement age without the approval of the 577-member National Assembly.
The motion of no confidence led by the Center Group received support from NUPES – the left-wing coalition of socialists, communists and greens. Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon said NUPES decided on Friday to vote in favor of the centrist initiative rather than its own to improve its chances of passage.
Whether the centre-left party gets enough votes in the National Assembly to topple Macron’s government will depend on other lawmakers supporting the measure.
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Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Rally, the largest opposition party in the National Assembly, has said her party would vote in favor of no-confidence motions against Macron’s government.
The survival of Macron’s government is likely to depend on Les Républicains, the French conservative party. Legislators from Les Républicains hold the balance of power in the deeply divided chamber of the National Assembly.
Eric Ciotti, leader of Les Républicains, supports raising the retirement age and has said he will not support a motion of no confidence. However, a group of dissidents oppose Macron’s plan, and it is unclear how many of them will vote for the motions. At least 27 of Les Républicains’ 61 lawmakers in the National Assembly would have to vote against the government to force it to resign.
Mr Macron’s pro-business Renaissance party has 170 seats in the National Assembly and is part of a larger coalition with centre-right parties that has a total of 250 seats.
Ms. Le Pen sought to increase pressure on the conservatives, saying that refusing to back the no-confidence vote would mean they would support the pension law, which is largely unpopular among French people and has led to nearly two months of nationwide protests.
“All the legislators of Les Républicains who do not vote of no confidence will in fact pass the pension reform,” Le Pen wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Macron’s bid to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030 is part of his plan to overhaul the country’s pension system.
The overhaul was one of the main topics of Macron’s re-election campaign last year. He has argued that it is the only way to preserve France’s pension system without raising taxes or driving the country into debt.
Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt said in September that if the no-confidence vote was successful, Macron would dissolve the National Assembly, triggering new parliamentary elections. This has sent chills through the ranks of Les Républicains, which is in the midst of an identity crisis.
Asked by reporters Thursday if he would vote in favor of a motion of no confidence by the centrist group, Les Républicains lawmaker Aurélien Pradié said: “I don’t rule it out.”
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