French government uses decree to pass key economic bill

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The French government said on Tuesday it was passing President Francois Hollande's flagship economic reform bill by decree, a rare move taken to remove the risk of it being blocked by a backbench rebellion.

The decision, announced in parliament by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, means opposition lawmakers now have 24 hours to organize a no-confidence vote in the government.

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The reform package, which includes new rules to broaden trading hours and deregulate certain sectors, is an effort to boost growth and is also aimed at persuading the European Commission to give Paris more time to get its public finances into line with EU rules.

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