Macron government to face no-confidence vote following street protests

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Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 presidential election, attends a campaign rally in Lyon, France, February 4, 2017. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

Three opposition parties, the Socialist Party, far-left Defiant France and the Communist Party are setting aside their divisions and promise to submit a request to seek a no-confidence vote in the lower house of parliament.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) presides over an emergency crisis meeting with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (center R), French junior Minister for Interior Laurent Nunez (center L) at the Interior Ministry in Paris, France, late 11 December 2018.
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) presides over an emergency crisis meeting with French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe (center R), French junior Minister for Interior Laurent Nunez (center L) at the Interior Ministry in Paris, France, late 11 December 2018. (Reuters)

French left-wing opposition parties are seeking a no-confidence vote in President Emmanuel Macron’s government amid growing protests and fears of violence.

The Socialist Party, far-left Defiant France and the Communist Party are setting aside their divisions and promising to submit the request to the lower house of parliament, or National Assembly, on Monday. The assembly would hold a no-confidence motion within 48 hours of the request.

The left-wing parties alone don’t have nearly enough votes to bring down the government, since Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move party has a strong majority in the 577-seat house. But they are trying to attract support from other opposition forces.

The move is a new swipe at Macron and his government, dramatically weakened by weeks of yellow vest protests.

The government is trying to calm tensions but with little success. The transport minister met Thursday with truckers’ unions but they maintained their promise to go on strike onSunday.

Govt urges yellow vests not to protest after Strasbourg attack

The French government on Thursday urged yellow vest protesters to refrain from holding another round of demonstrations this weekend, citing the strain on security forces on high alert after the terror attack at a Christmas market in Strasbourg.

“For now we have not banned the demonstrations” which some protesters have called for Saturday, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNewstelevision.

But he called on the protesters to be “reasonable” after President Emmanuel Macron offered a range of financial relief last Monday, including a minimum wage boost and a tax cut for low-income pensioners.

“Our security forces have been deployed extensively these past few weeks,” Griveaux said, while insisting that “it’s not up to us to say if the movement should be called off or not.”

In the wake of the Strasbourg attack, “it would be better if everyone could go about their business calmly on Saturday, before the year-end celebrations with their families, instead of demonstrating and putting our security forces to work once again,” he said.

Hundreds of police scoured eastern France on Thursday for a fugitive gunman behind a deadly Strasbourg Christmas market attack that left two people dead and six others fighting for their lives.

France has raised its security threat to the highest level and police issued a wanted poster for Cherif Chakatt, the main suspect in the attack who was on an watchlist as a potential security threat.

Authorities say the 29-year-old was known to have been radicalised while in jail.

More than 700 police are involved in the second day of the manhunt, scouring Strasbourg, which lies on the west bank of the Rhine river, and the surrounding region. Police have set up checkpoints on the German border and questioning the suspect’s associates.

Asked if police had been instructed to catch Chakatt dead or alive, government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told CNews: “It doesn’t matter. The best thing would be to find him as quickly as possible.”

Source: TRTWorld and agencies