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France

Emmanuel Macron survives first confidence vote amid protests

Author: Editors Desk Source: The Guardian
March 20, 2023 at 14:43
People stage a protest against the retirement bill in Paris, on 20 March. Photograph: Lewis Joly/AP
People stage a protest against the retirement bill in Paris, on 20 March. Photograph: Lewis Joly/AP

The French government has survived a vote of no confidence but Emmanuel Macron continues to face protests and strikes over his decision to use executive powers to push through an unpopular rise in the pension age.

Although the prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, avoided having to instantly resign, the president remains under pressure to break his silence and shore up the government amid growing anger in the streets. Opposition politicians in parliament accused him of arrogance, denying democracy and failing to learn from the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) anti-government protest movement four years ago.

Government insiders, opposition politicians and observers have raised fears that France could see another round of spontaneous, anti-government revolt in cities and small towns – not just over raising the pension age to 64, but also because of distrust in the political system, only a few years after the gilets jaunes movement shook Macron’s first term in office.

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