Riots erupted agross France again today after French President Emmanuel Macron pushed through his pension reform act, raising the official retirement age from 62 to 64m without botherring to present his proposal to the National Assembly so representatives could vote on bit. The public backlash has exceeded even the most pessimistic predictions, and there is now a good chance that a no-confidence vote this week could collapse his government. Even if he survives this second vote, having survived one already, commentators say that opposition leader Marine Le Pen's nationalist party has never been in a better position to force Macron from, with the conservative populist emerging as the “victor” in the fierce debate over pension reform.
Emmanuel Macron wearing his 'I just shat myself face
Today's no-confidence motion spearheaded by a group of centrists won the support of 278 lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, a mere nine votes short of a majority.
Lawmakers are expected to vote later on a second no-confidence motion filed by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, though that is unlikely tp pass as leftist parties will not support any proposal from Le Pen's party.
However the battle does not end there. To pass his act, Macron’s had to invoke Article 49.3 of the French constitution, which allows him to bypass parliament and push through the increase in retirement age from 62 to 64 via decree, had been labeled the “nuclear option” by the French press.
Article 49.3 is a measure intended for use in times of national emergency and while pension reform is urgently needed it can hardly be described as an emergency so the president is on very shaky constitutional ground. And this may be Macron's undoing because within the article is a clause that a vote of no-confidence can be tabled within 24 hours after Article 49.3 is used. Thus a third 'no confidence motion' can be tabled tomorrow and if it succeeds, it would mean the end of Macron’s government.
Although the left would never cooperate with Macron's party even on an issue on which they agree, the Liberal MP Charles de Courson could introduce an independent 'no confidence' vote and thus act as a bridge between the right and the left. The Liberals, acting as a neutral intermediary, could allow the right and the left to vote for their motion. It has also been announced that the Liberties, Independents, Overseas and Territories (LIOT Group) is expected to table a no-confidence motion at 2:00 p.m. today as well.
Although the different factions of parliament have remained divided up until now, Macron’s dubious move to ram through pension reform without a democratic vote could finally unify the opposition against the man who, when elected vowed to rule in the style of a Roman God.
French workers protest against pension reforms (Picture: bcchpatriotpost.com