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Hollande government faces no-confidence vote


Paris / AFP

France’s already unpopular Socialist government faces a no-confidence vote Thursday after it bypassed parliament and forced through a labour reform bill that has led to two months of demonstrations. The government said it would resort to the controversial move in the face of fierce opposition from within President Francois Hollande’s own party that was set to lead to the bill being defeated in parliament.
Opponents need 288 votes to bring down the government, which is considered an unlikely prospect because left-wing rebels and extreme-right lawmakers have said they will refuse to join forces with parties on the right.
Its critics say the bill is heavily weighted in favour of employers, but a defiant Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the reform must go ahead “because the country must move forward and because salary negotiations and workers’ rights must progress.”
Unions have called for more demonstrations on Thursday to coincide with the vote of no confidence. The government argues the reform will give companies more flexibility to fight endemic unemployment, which stands at more than 10 percent—joblessness has been the defining issue of Hollande’s four years in power.
ut while the right believes the reform fails to go far enough, unions and student groups say it will only serve to erode job security. The right, which has a minority in the National Assembly, or lower house, says Hollande has led the country into an “impasse”.

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