Le Pen and the French radical left will vote on the same no-confidence motion

The French far-right and radical left will vote on Monday on the same motion of censure against the Government, presented by centrist deputy Charles de Courson.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
18 March 2023 Saturday 05:56
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Le Pen and the French radical left will vote on the same no-confidence motion

The French far-right and radical left will vote on Monday on the same motion of censure against the Government, presented by centrist deputy Charles de Courson. This unusual transversal initiative says a lot about the serious political moment the country is experiencing after the traumatic approval, by decree, of the unpopular pension reform.

De Courson, the deputy who has been in the National Assembly for the longest time, belongs to a heterogeneous group of 20 parliamentarians called Libertats, Independents, Overseas i Territories (Liot) in which various sensibilities of the center-right and center-left coexist, as well as Breton autonomists and Corsicans The deputies of the New Popular Ecologist and Social Union (Nupes), which brings together La Francia Insumisa (LFI, radical left), socialists, ecologists and communists, will join his motion of censure. It will also be voted for by the National Regroupment (RN, extreme right), led by Marine Le Pen, despite having presented a second motion of censure of its own.

The big question is how many deputies of the Republicans (LR, traditional right) will support this motion and thus disobey its leader, Éric Ciotti, who promised "not to add chaos to chaos" and warned that bringing down the Government now would represent a "fatal blow" for French democracy. But LR has been, for years, a divided party without a north, and therefore difficult to discipline. However, it is highly unlikely that the motion will achieve enough votes to topple the Executive, a fact that, if it did, would open an even bigger crisis that could lead to the dissolution of the Assembly and the calling of new elections.

Political pressure and discontent in the streets form a dangerous grip on Emmanuel Macron. The President of the Republic is a man walking on coals, weak and white with popular rage. He is showing that he is unable to build consensus around his projects, although it is also true that his rivals do not make it easy for him and prioritize partisan interests over the reason for the State. Approving the pension reform by decree wanted to be a coup of authority, but in reality it was a demonstration of weakness and impotence.

According to a first survey commissioned by the RTL chain, 82% of French people think that going ahead with the pension reform without putting it to a vote was a mistake; an opinion shared by many analysts.

This unstable and tense situation looks set to be prolonged and to condition the more than four years that Macron has left in the Elysée. It will be very complicated for other plans such as the new immigration law or an institutional reform to move forward. The Head of State will always have the power to dissolve the Assembly, although nothing guarantees a more favorable distribution of forces. Another intermediate solution would be to proceed with a change of Government, since some of the current ministers have been burned in the fight for pensions. The head of the premier herself, Élisabeth Borne, could shoot.

The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, asked the prefects to take extreme measures to ensure public order, protect official buildings and guarantee the physical integrity of parliamentarians and representatives of the State. This alert takes place in the face of the outburst of social anger against government inflexibility. In these circumstances and in view of the security risk they face, several ministers announced that they were canceling some planned trips. His presence at public events was a headache for the bodyguards.

After a night of acts of violence and riots in several cities that resulted in more than 300 arrests, yesterday morning there were again spontaneous demonstrations and roadblocks in Paris, Rennes, Bordeaux, Rouen, Brest and other cities. The peripheral highway of the capital was temporarily closed at several points. In the afternoon, people once again gathered in the Place de la Concordia, in Paris; in Place Kleber in Strasbourg, and in central locations in Bordeaux, Pau, Sarcelles, Le Mans and other smaller towns. One of the characteristics of the mobilization against the delay in the retirement age is that peripheral France and medium and small cities have been very prominent. In Paris, hooded radical individuals set up a barricade with security fences and ended up clashing with riot police when they were dispersed.

Unions plan to continue mobilizations and strikes in key sectors such as refineries, liquefied gas facilities and railways. The General Directorate of Aviation on Monday asked to cancel 30% of the flights scheduled at Paris-Orly airport and 20% at Marseille. A new day of strike and protest marches on a national scale is called for Thursday.

The press is unanimous in considering that Macron's decision to approve the pension reform using a constitutional instrument of exception, Article 49.3, was reckless. According to Le Monde, the president "has played with fire". For Libération, Macron is to blame for poisoning the conflict, because "he has broken all the eggs he had in the fridge but he has not managed to make an omelet" and his "impotence" is evident. Le Figaro highlighted on the front page that the Government is "weakened and isolated". L'Opinion found "a victory with the taste of defeat", a "weakened Macron" and a "threatened Borne". Le Parisien evoked the Government's fear of a return of the yellow vest movement, which plunged the country, for months in 2018 and 2019, into a major public order crisis.

In addition to ordering more police surveillance, Darmanin took the decision to legally force Paris garbage collectors to return to work to collect the more than 10,000 tons of waste accumulated in the capital by the strike. However, it is not easy to implement the measure because the mayor of Paris herself, the socialist Anne Hidalgo, is in solidarity with the strikers.