Illustration photo – French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, 10 January 2023.
Paris – The centrist club Liot submitted a motion of no confidence in the French government of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne in connection with the pension reform. The proposal is also signed by members of left-wing clubs. A similar proposal was submitted by the far-right party National Association (RN). The motion of no confidence is a way to reverse the passage of the pension system changes in the lower house after the government on Thursday invoked an article of the constitution that allows the law to be approved without a vote of MPs. The motion was not signed by any member of the right-wing Republicans, on whom the success of the no-confidence motion depends. The National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, will begin deliberations on a possible vote of no confidence in the government on Monday afternoon, AFP reported. Strikes and demonstrations against the pension reform continued in France today.
Photo gallery: Opposition to the pension reform in France
< p>Deputies from the left-wing bloc NUPES (New People's, Socialist and Ecological Union) also signed the proposal of the centrist Liot club. Deputies from the far-right National Association (RN), chaired by Marine Le Pen in the National Assembly, also want to express no confidence in the government and have submitted their own proposal. “We will vote for all the proposals,” said RN MP Laure Lavalette.
In order for a vote of no confidence in the cabinet, a majority of all MPs must vote for it. Clubs whose members spoke out against the pension reform therefore need the support of the right-wing Republicans (LR), who are not united in their attitude towards the changes promoted by President Emmanuel Macron. The resolution presented by the Liot club was not supported by any LR MP. “I hope that many of them will vote for him,” said the head of the centrist club Bertrand Pancher.
According to Le Monde's calculation, the opposition needs at least half of the LR's 61 MPs to support the proposal. The leader of this right-wing party, Éric Ciotti, declared on Thursday that his deputies would not support any request to dismiss the government. Later, however, several members of the right-wing club announced that they would vote for a vote of no confidence in the government.
The lower house of the French parliament will start discussing the vote of no confidence in the government on Monday from 4:00 p.m., parliamentary sources told AFP. The inclusion of the debate and vote on the agenda of the Chamber must still be officially confirmed by the Bureau, which will meet on Monday shortly before the start of the meeting.
The fact that the government, which was not sure that the pension law would be supported by enough MPs, used Article 49 of the constitution to adopt the norm in an emergency, led to loud criticism from the opposition and protests in the streets. Hundreds of thousands of people have been holding demonstrations against the pension changes since January. The unions have called for further demonstrations and strikes over the weekend and Thursday, March 23.
Among other things, the revision of the pension system is to raise the retirement age in France by two years to 64, which the government says is necessary to prevent the system from going bankrupt. The number of years of service required to receive the full amount of the pension will also increase. But thanks to the reform, people who started working very young or performed highly demanding occupations, for example in a noisy environment or at night, will be able to retire earlier. Maternity and paternity leave are also to be taken into account and, for example, the minimum old-age pension is to be increased to almost 1,200 euros (CZK 28,800).
Strikes and demonstrations against the pension reform continued in France
Protests continued in France today against the pension reform promoted by President Emmanuel Macron. Many protesters also expressed their opposition to the government's actions, which decided to bypass the MPs when approving changes to the pension system, because they did not have certain support for their law. In transport and energy, the unions called on employees to continue the strike, the AFP agency wrote.
This evening, around 4,000 people gathered in Paris' Place de la Concorde, which is located near the seat of the lower house of parliament. Some protesters started building barricades and a fire broke out in the square during the protest. The police later intervened against the demonstrators, Reuters wrote. Already in the morning, hundreds of protesters blocked traffic on the main Paris city bypass.
People in other French cities also took to the streets in the evening. Hundreds to thousands of people gathered in Lille or Strasbourg. In Bordeaux, protesters occupied the tracks at the main train station. “Let's block the country, let's block the country,” chanted opponents of changes to the pension system. In the afternoon, several thousand people also protested in Rennes.
Protests are often spontaneous. Their participants express their opposition to the reform and the government's action, which on Thursday used Article 49 of the French constitution, which allows the adoption of a law without a vote of the deputies. Today, the opposition filed two motions of no confidence in Prime Minister Élisabeth Borneo's cabinet in the National Assembly. He wants to force the government to resign and thus reverse the adoption of the law.
Strikes against the reform continue in a number of sectors. The unions extended the strike of employees of the railway company SNCF. According to the company's data, a third of the high-speed trains and half of the regional connections did not run today due to the protest. However, the company claims that the situation is gradually improving. The strike movement is also strong in the energy sector. According to the AFP agency, two refineries are threatened with production stoppages, and the energy company EDF is also recording a drop in production.
The situation regarding Paris garbage collectors is unclear. This morning, the Paris Prefecture announced the issuance of an order that would force garbage collectors and waste incineration plant employees to return to work. However, Paris City Hall said in the afternoon that not a single garbage collection truck had taken to the streets during the day. According to city hall estimates, over 10,000 tons of waste have accumulated in the streets of the metropolis.
Spontaneous protests, during which there are clashes with the police or destruction of property, are criticized by government officials. “The opposition is legitimate, protests are legitimate, chaos or the effects of chaos are not,” declared Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin. More protests are expected over the weekend and next Thursday.