French President Emmanuel Macron was faced with two unexpected no-confidence votes on Tuesday, as his political opponents sought to take advantage of his handling of the “Benalla affair”. (Reuters) Had either vote succeeded, Macron would have been removed from office in favor of different leadership.
Details of the Benalla affair were previously provided by TNB.
Macron’s party, La Republique En Marche!, is a pro-EU, pro-trade party that features moral planks to its platform. Founded in 2016, it currently holds an absolute majority in the French National Assembly with 308 of the 577 available seats.
The first of the votes was called by the French conservative party, the Republicans. It won only 143 of the required 289 votes. The second attempt was called by a coalition of hard left parties, and received only 74 votes.
From France 24:
The leader of the Republicans in the National Assembly, Christian Jacob, told lawmakers the scandal stemming from the ex-aide was not “an affair for the left or the right.”
“This is a question of transparency, honor, integrity,” Jacob said before Tuesday’s votes. “That is why, in the name of the Republicans, I am asking you to sanction this government.”
Andre Chassaigne, who leads the French Communist Party’s representatives in the lower house, accused the government of lying and said Macron bore responsibility for the crisis.
Neither vote was expected to succeed, but they were an attempt by opposition parties to capitalize on Macron’s perceived mishandling of the Benalla affair. La Republique En Marche! grew quickly in large part by luring candidates to jump to it from other parties, both Republican and leftist. With Macron’s favorability in the polls now measuring the lowest of his Presidency, as low as 36% in some polls, this is an opening salvo in attempting to break apart the party he has fashioned.
Macron’s success at creating a centrist “third party” has allowed France to avoid the swing that many other European nations have seen, where their traditional parties have been defined as corrupt, leading to the growth of splinter factions of nationalist and socialist groups, leading in turn to the success of a nationalist group which grows to be viewed as corrupt or racist, leading finally to a hard-left government. In his success, however, he has made enemies; the enemies are now attempting to reclaim control.