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Macron survives bids to oust him after budget adopted without a vote

By Earle Gale in London | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-10-26 01:40

French President Emmanuel Macron. [Photo/Agencies]

France's President Emmanuel Macron held on to power this week after his leadership was challenged twice by opposition lawmakers seeking to bring down his relatively fragile centrist government.

Macron, who was narrowly reelected in June without the healthy majority he enjoyed in his first term, comfortably survived the votes of no-confidence triggered by lawmakers angered by his government's use of special constitutional powers to force his budget bill through the National Assembly without a vote.

The Independent newspaper said the separate no-confidence votes were launched by the leftist Nupes coalition and the far-right National Rally party.

The motions were only supported by a minority of lawmakers but will have given Macron a momentary scare as the budget bill was formally adopted.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said she understood why some lawmakers were enraged by the government's use of Article 49.3 of the Constitution to force the budget through, but that it was the right thing to do.

"That's not an easy thing, but in such troubled times, that decision was needed," the Agence France-Presse news agency quoted her as saying. "We had to provide the French people with a budget in line with their democratic choices and consistent with our political direction."

The Associated Press, or AP, news agency quoted Marine Le Pen, leader of National Rally, as saying the invocation of Article 49.3 illustrated the weakness of the power of Macron's government and, "above all, its incapacity to federate, to accept listening and exchanging about public policies".

"In short," she said. "(It shows) an inability to play the democratic game."

While National Rally baulked at Macron's "refusal to discuss, to accept compromises" over the budget, the leftists opposed it for failing to tackle climate change.

Cyrielle Chatelain, a Green Party lawmaker who is part of the Nupes coalition, said Macron and Borne should have done more to curb carbon emissions.

"Your inaction can be counted in numbers of days of drought ... and hectares of burned forests," AP quoted Chatelain as saying.

After surviving the confidence votes and seeing his budget adopted, Macron turned his attention to the relationship between his nation and neighbor Germany, which has long been at the heart of the European Union.

Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz are set to meet on Wednesday in Paris after months of problems in the bilateral relationship that culminated last week during an EU summit in Brussels with Macron telling reporters Berlin was risking "isolating itself" because of its failure to support an EU cap on natural gas prices.

France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, conceded ahead of Wednesday's meeting that relations between Paris and Berlin had become "difficult" and were in need of a "reset", the Financial Times reported.

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