French government faces make-or-break vote after pension reform uproar -

29 May, Monday

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French government faces make-or-break vote after pension reform uproar

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French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Monday faces two motions of no confidence in the National Assembly lower house, after forcing through an unpopular pension reform last week without a vote. 
Ednews reports citing France24 that while her allies in President Emmanuel Macron's camp have the largest number of MPs, they do not control an absolute majority in the chamber — meaning they could be defeated if the entire opposition unites in one of the ballots, set for debate from 4 pm (1500 GMT).
But few observers believe the opposition can muster the numbers to topple the government.
"Let's get clarity. The vote means clarity," Aurore Berge, chief of the pro-government MPs, told broadcaster Franceinfo Sunday.
"It's about one sole question: is the pension reform indispensable or unbearable for the French public?"
Macron's widely disliked campaign pledge to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 — extending the number of years people must pay into the system to receive a full pension — was passed on Thursday using the French constitution's Article 49.3.
The provision means that the bill automatically becomes law unless the government loses a no-confidence vote, with two motions since filed: one from a small centrist group, and the other from the far-right National Rally.
Borne and her ministers failed to woo enough MPs from the conservative Republicans party to clear the threshold for a majority last week, but now hope they will not vote to eject the government.
Macron — who has made no public comments since Thursday — broke his silence on Sunday, saying in a statement issued to AFP that he hopes "the text on pensions can go to the end of its democratic journey with respect for all". 
Republicans leader Eric Ciotti has said he refuses to "add chaos to chaos" and so his party will not back the no-confidence motions. With only a few likely rebels in his ranks, most expect the government to survive.    


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