Macron to address nation after government survives tight vote

In some of central Paris’ most prestigious avenues, firefighters scrambled on Monday evening to put out burning rubbish piles left uncollected for days due to strikes as protesters played cat-and-mouse with police for a fifth night.

What may concern the executive is the large number of young people in the demonstrations.

Television images showed police briefly firing tear gas and charging at protesters in several towns. Some special motor bike officers were seen striking out at protesters.

That prompted the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Association, Clément Voule, to say in a Twitter post that police should avoid using excessive force.

The vote on the tri-partisan, no-confidence motion was closer than expected. Some 278 members of parliament backed it, just nine short of the 287 needed for it to succeed.

All eyes now turn to the president who will be interviewed on the daily news programs of TF1 and France 2 TV stations on Wednesday to “outline what happens now,” Veran said.

2023 Munich Security Conference
French president Emanuel Macron delivers a speech in Munich, Germany, in February.Johannes Simon / Getty Images

Macron will hold talks later on Tuesday with Borne, the heads of both houses of parliament and lawmakers in his political camp as he seeks to plot an exit to the political crisis.

“We are coming to the end of the democratic process of this essential reform for our country,” Borne said. “It is with humility and seriousness that I took my responsibility and that of my government.”

Opponents say this shows Macron’s decision to bypass a parliamentary vote on the pension bill — which triggered the no- confidence motions — has already undermined his reformist agenda and weakened his leadership.

The key question in coming days will be whether Macron sticks with his existing government as he looks to freshen things up, even if the potential paralysis in parliament will make governing more complicated.

“The government is finished,” said Fabien Roussel, secretary general of the Communist party. “In the face of the chaos provoked by the government’s attitude, the answer has to be social democracy.”

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