What’s coming up? The week ahead in France

Parliament votes on a motion of no confidence in the government, a partial solar eclipse to be seen, funeral of murdered Lola, 12, the Salon du chocolat begins and more

We look at what the week ahead has in store for people in France
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Vote of 'no confidence’ motion in Assemblée nationale

Today (October 24), MPs will debate and vote on the two no confidence motions put forward by the left-wing Nupes coalition and the far-right Rassemblement National after the government used article 49.3 of the Constitution to push its budget through Parliament without a vote.

Read more: No confidence motion after French government forces through new budget

Read more: Article 49.3: French government prepares to push budget through today

Read more: Explainer: what is France’s article 49.3 and why is it in the news?

The mechanism allows the French prime minister, following discussions with cabinet (Conseil des ministres) to unilaterally pass any bill concerning financial or social security issues.

Article 49.3 has often been described as using the ‘nuclear option’. This is because there is the possibility that it could cause the collapse of the government.

This is because a motion de censure vote of no confidence can be called if signed by 58 MPs. The Nupes coalition tabled such a motion on Thursday (October 20) and Rassemblement National followed suit the same day.

If an absolute majority of MPs – 289 – vote in favour of a no confidence motion, the prime minister and their government must resign.

It is unlikely that this will happen this time, as Nupes only has 151 MPs, but the motion enables the coalition to position itself as the primary opposition force within Parliament.

Neither Nupes nor Rassemblement National MPs will vote for the motion tabled by the other group.

This evening, it is likely that the Assemblée nationale will also examine a motion de censure put forward by Nupes with regards to the government’s budget de la sécurité sociale.

Funeral of murdered 12-year-old Lola

Today will also see the funeral of Lola, a 12-year-old girl who was found murdered in Paris on October 14, in Lilliers (Pas-de-Calais).

Lola, who lived in a block of flats in the 19th arrondissement with her family, was found dead in a plastic trunk dumped near her flat building after she failed to return home from school that day.

She had been injured but police found that she died due to cardiorespiratory failure "with signs of asphyxiation and cervical compression".

A 24-year-old woman, named as Dahbia B., is in police custody on suspicion of her murder and rape as well as acts of torture. She is being held in Fresnes prison, south of Paris.

She admitted to some of the accusations, before going back on her confession.

Read also: Suspect in murder of Lola, 12: What is a OQTF order to leave France?

Brétigny-sur-Orge train crash trial draws to a close

On Wednesday (October 26) an Évry court will hand down its judgement on the Brétigny-sur-Orge train crash which happened on July 12, 2013.

On that day, a passenger train carrying 385 people derailed and hit the station platform. Seven people were killed and there were 428 injuries.

The accident was the most serious French train crash since the 1988 Gare de Lyon accident when 56 people were killed.

SNCF, SNCF Réseau and an SNCF track inspector were charged with involuntary homicide and causing involuntary injury.

SNCF argues that it was a fishplate (rail joint) failure which caused the accident and that human error was not to blame.

In June, the prosecution called for the judge to hand SNCF a €450,000 fine.

Partial solar eclipse

A partial solar eclipse will be visible over France tomorrow (October 25) from around 11:15 in the north and 11:30 in the south.

People in France will be able to see “the most beautiful of celestial phenomena, a solar eclipse during which the Moon will partially obscure the solar disc,” France’s Institut de mécanique céleste et de calcul des éphémérides observatory institute told TF1.

The eclipse will be visible everywhere in France, but particularly in the north east, where nearly 20% of the sun will be masked in Strasbourg, 18.4% in Metz and 17.2% in Lille.

In Lyon, it will be 11.8%, in Paris 13.7%, and Toulouse it will be 5.4%.

The phenomenon will last for a couple of hours, coming to an end around 13:00.

Read more: Look up to French skies for partial solar eclipse tomorrow

Salon du chocolat in Paris

Paris’ 27th Salon du chocolat will run between October 28 and November 1 at the Porte de Versailles.

The Salon du chocolat is the world’s largest chocolate show, and involves live demonstrations, themed catwalks (with chocolate clothes), competitions and workshops.

Visitors will be able to explore the latest trends in chocolate and cocoa recipes.

You can find out more about the event here.

Légion d’honneur for Covid scientists

Scientists who led France’s Conseil scientifique government advisory body during the Covid crisis will be awarded their Légions d’honneur on Tuesday (October 25).

Those receiving the honour include Arnaud Fontanet, Jean-François Delfraissy and Swiss epidemiologist Didier Pittet, who wrote a report on France’s management of the first Covid waves.

Read more: Coronavirus: Swiss doctor leads review into French response

Read more: Covid: Daily updates on the situation in France

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