French government survives no-confidence votes in pension fight

There has been a rolling strike by rubbish collectors in Paris, leading to unsightly and unhygienic piles of trash accumulating in the French capital.

The future of Borne, appointed as France’s second woman premier by Macron after his election victory over the far right for a second mandate, remains in doubt after she failed to secure a parliamentary majority for the reform.

Meanwhile, it is unclear when Macron will finally make public comments over the events, amid reports he is considering an address to the nation.

Since Borne invoked article 49.3 of the constitution, there have also been daily protests in Paris and other cities that have on occasion turned violent.

Hard-left figurehead Jean-Luc Melenchon said people “should express themselves everywhere and in all circumstances to force the withdrawal of the reform”.

Government insiders and observers have raised fears that France is again heading for another bout of violent anti-government protests, only a few years after the “Yellow Vest” movement shook the country from 2018-2019.


In order to pass, the main multi-party no-confidence motion needed support from around half the 61 MPs of the traditional right-wing party The Republicans.

Even after its leadership insisted they should reject the motions, 19 renegade Republicans MPs voted in favour.

One of the Republicans who voted for the ousting of the government, Aurelien Pradie, said afterwards Macron should withdraw the “poisoned law”.

“It is obvious today that the government has a problem of legitimacy and the president cannot remain a spectator of this situation,” he told BFMTV.

The leader of the far-right in parliament Marine Le Pen, who challenged Macron in the 2022 elections, said Borne “should go or be made to resign by the president”.

A survey on Sunday showed the head of state’s personal rating at its lowest level since the height of the “Yellow Vest” protest movement in 2019, with only 28 per cent of respondents having a positive view of him.

Macron has argued that the pension changes are needed to avoid crippling deficits in the coming decades linked to France’s ageing population.

Opponents of the reform say it places an unfair burden on low earners, women and people doing physically wearing jobs. Opinion polls have consistently shown that two-thirds of French people oppose the changes.

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