French government wins “no confidence” vote in Parliament

PARIS, The French government, led by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, on Wednesday won a vote of “no confidence” in Parliament after Philippe outlined future policies for the coming period.

The vote for the government was 363 in favour, given that the Prime Minister has a solid majority of deputies from President Emmanuel Macron’s “Republic on the March (LREM)” party. The votes against the government numbered 163.

The government only needed 264 votes to survive the “no confidence” vote and scored a resounding victory in the 577-member National Assembly.

Philippe, in his second major policy speech since taking power in June 2017, vowed in a marathon debate to continue to inject vigour and dynamism into the French economy all the while easing the burden of taxation on the middle classes and assisting those in society who are most in need.

He also promised to speed up programmes to fight climate change by reducing energy dependence on polluting fuels and also working for ecological goals like eliminating use of plastics by government institutions.

He declared that France would move rapidly to recycling all plastics. He also promised to tackle calls for Constitutional Reform and the introduction of some proportional representation to voting, if the number of deputies can be reduced.

Philippe told parliamentarians there was “economic urgency”, “social urgency”, “ecological urgency” and also “political urgency” to act rapidly and implement reforms.

He particularly called for unity among democrats in view of the strong showing of the extreme-right National Rally party in the European elections, when in May the party of Marine Le Pen finished first in the European parliamentary vote.

“As in many Western democracies, political radicalism is feeding the obsession with decline and fear of the other and is now structuring our democratic life,” he warned.

But he noted France was doing well in several areas, with unemployment at its lowest for ten years and investment at a 12-year high and purchasing power at its most dynamic for a decade, making France ever more attractive.

The opposition argued that Philippe did nothing for purchasing power and even reduced the purchasing power of some of the most vulnerable in France.

The Prime Minister was also accused of not mastering immigration and allowing the number of asylum-seekers to increase by 11 percent during his period as head of government.

Source: Kuwait News Agency