The no confidence motions put forward against the government in France’s Assemblée nationale last week have not been passed by MPs, meaning that the prime minister and government are not obliged to resign.
One motion was tabled by the left-wing Nupes coalition, and another by the far-right Rassemblement National party, after the government chose to push its 2023 budget bill through Parliament without a vote by making use of article 49.3 of the Constitution.
Article 49.3 allows the French prime minister, following discussions with cabinet (Conseil des ministres) to unilaterally pass any bill concerning financial or social security issues.
However, it is sometimes described as a ‘nuclear option’ because it can lead to a motion de censure (vote of no confidence) in the government if 58 MPs – 10% of the house – express their support for this measure.
Nupes’ no confidence motion received 239 votes in favour yesterday (October 24), while that of Rassemblement National secured 90, meaning that both fell short of the 289 votes needed for the motion to be passed.
Both the left and right-wing parties had previously said that they would not vote for each other’s motions, but at the last minute, Rassemblement National announced it would support its rival.
However, Les Républicains did not back the no confidence vote, so preventing Nupes from gaining support from a majority of MPs.
A third no confidence motion, which was put forward by Nupes with regards to the government’s loi de finances de la sécurité sociale, was also rejected yesterday evening, having gained 150 votes from left-wing MPs.
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne criticised the “unnatural alliance” of the left and right, and some MPs began using the hashtag #RNUPES, combining Rassemblement National’s ‘RN’ abbreviation with that of Nupes.
Eric Coquerel of La France Insoumise, which forms part of Nupes, said: “I don’t mind if the RN votes for our motion. A motion isn’t just there to look pretty” but to bring an end to the government.
Raquel Guarrido, also from La France Insoumise, commented: “I am happy that the RN was obliged to recognise Nupes’ leadership in this institutional moment where Parliament stood up to the abuse of power [carried out through] article 49.3. Les Républicains should do the same.”
Green MP Cyrielle Chatelain justified Nupes’ recourse to the no confidence motion by describing an “Assemblée gagged” by the use of article 49.3, which she said was “a weapon for the weak”.