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French government survives but bigger troubles lie ahead
French PM Manuel Valls puts on a brave face. Photo: AFP

French government survives but bigger troubles lie ahead

Ben McPartland · 13 May 2016, 09:04

Published: 13 May 2016 09:04 GMT+02:00

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France's embattled Socialist government survived a vote of no-confidence on Thursday over its decision to force a
controversial labour reform bill though parliament without the usual vote.

A no-confidence motion brought by the centre-right opposition won 246 votes in the National Assembly, falling short of the 288 required to bring down the government.

New protests were held across the country on Thursday against the draft law, with violent clashes reported in Paris and acts of vandalism in the western city of Nantes.

While the government and its controversial bill might have survived parliament there are still major obstacles ahead for both.

Out on the streets the protests and strikes are set to continue with two planned for May 17th and 19th. And here could be more throughout the summer.

But the government's main problem lies within its party, which appears to be on the point of implosion, given the rebellion from leftwing MPs.

French media were asking the question on Friday whether the labour reforms spelled the end of the party.

The leftwing rebel MPs known as the Frondeurs, who were against the labour reforms won't go away. After almost managing to trigger their own vote of no-confidence in the government, they have promised to try again when the labour bill returns to the Assembly.

They are angry not only about the labour reforms, which they believe will do nothing to cut unemployment, but also the way the government once again used the 49-3 constitutional device to force the reforms through without a vote.

The Frondeurs, have long been in battle against the Socialist government accusing it of tacking to the right and implementing business friendly policies at the expense of ordinary workers.

The split shows no signs of healing with the next presidential and parliamentary elections just a year away. 

Story continues below…

President François Hollande is his Prime Minister Manuel Valls have vowed to do what is necessary to reform France.

But with dissension and discord reigning within their own party and unemployment still stubbornly, it all looks pretty grim for the chances of Hollande or indeed any Socialist candidate being elected president next year.


Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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