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France

French government survives confidence vote despite left-wing rebellion

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (R) and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron in the National Assembly on Thursday
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (R) and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron in the National Assembly on Thursday Reuters/Christian Hartmann

France's government has won a confidence vote with rebels in the ruling Socialist Party refusing to back a right-wing motion of no confidence. But the opposition insists the government is weak because it had to force its latest economic package through without a vote.

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Last night a total of 234 voted in favour of the no-confidence motion, far short of the 289 required to bring down the government.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

The emergency vote was sparked on Tuesday when Prime Minister Manuel Valls used a constitutional device to force through an economic package proposed by Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron without a parliamentary vote.

About 30 Socialist rebels had declared their intention of voting against it, along with the hard-left Left Front.

The package, which extends Sunday shopping and opens up parts of the French economy to competition, will be debated in the Senate as from April and is expected to be signed into law.

The government argued that it was vital for the "nation's higher interests" and a commitment made to the European Union.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday said that the use of enabling legislation revealed the government’s weakness and proved that President François Hollande had lied to the country when he blamed France’s problems on Sarkozy himself.

Ahead of the no-confidence vote, Hollande predicted that it would not pass, procing that there was not “alternative majority”.

The outcome has not strengthened the French government overall, Philippe Marliere, professor of French politics at University College London, told RFI.
 

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