French government survives no-confidence vote

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Paris, May 13 (IANS) The National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament, on Thursday rejected a censure motion against the government after the Socialist executive team used a decree to push through controversial labour reform.

The ruling Socialists survived their second no-confidence vote in parliament with 246 lawmakers backing the motion, falling short of the 289 votes needed for victory.

In 2015, opposition parties failed to collapse the government after it used the constitutional mechanism to pass controversial economic measures, according to Xinhua.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls had resorted to a 49-3 decree, to push through the law without parliament vote, because “it’s a reform of social progress and important for our country,” he said before the motion vote.

The failure of the no-confidence vote means the labour code reform automatically pass their first reading in parliament. The government has the right to use the same decree to pass the text in following readings.

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President Francois Hollande proposed to reform the country’s strictly codified labour rules by offering more flexibility to companies to encourage recruitment. The widely disputed bill aims at making easier layoffs, reducing overtime pay and economic redundancies and opening to negotiating working hours and holidays.

With the reform which triggered nationwide street protests, the Socialist leader wants to bring down a joblessness rate currently at 10.2 percent, a condition he had set to run for 2017 presidential election.

The opposition conservatives, centrists and even several lawmakers from the the Socialist camp have accused the government of shifting to liberal approach and harm France’s social model.

In a further sign of rising opposition, a group of rebel deputies refused to vote the reform and had sought to submit its own no-confidence motion to oust the government.

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However, they failed to collect enough support from the left-wing allies who did not vote for the censure motion submitted by the conservatives.

The Senate, where centrist and right wing parties dominate, will examine the reform next week with a vote scheduled for June 13.



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