Europe Politics

French government to face a no-confidence vote following street protests

Key Points
  • Left-of-center lawmakers in France have tabled a motion of no-confidence in their government.
  • President Emmanuel Macron's parliamentary majority makes it unlikely that the government will fall.
  • The motion is expected to be debated at 10:30 a.m. eastern time on Thursday.
Yellow vest (gilets jaunes) protestors take notes as thet watch French President Emmanuel Macron's speech on TV on December 10, 2018 at a restaurant with French deputy Richard Damos, in Fay-au-Loges, near Orleans, Center France. 
Guillaume Souvant | AFP | Getty Images

Left-of-center lawmakers in France have tabled a motion of no confidence in the French government following repeated protests and scenes of violence.

The "gilets jaunes" ("yellow vests") crisis started as a demonstration against a carbon tax policy and planned fuel tax increases, but have morphed into wider discontent at the leadership of President Emmanuel Macron.

Now representatives from the French Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the far-left populist movement France Unbowed (La France Insoumise) have come together to table the motion against Macron's government.

The government of Georges Pompidou in 1962 was successfully toppled by such a motion but few believe this one will pass as Macron's centrist La République En Marche! party enjoys a strong majority in the 577-seat house.

"The French political system makes it extremely difficult to remove a President from office," said the Deputy Director of Research at Teneo Intelligence in a note Wednesday.

"The only political tool available to the opposition to expel Macron is the constitution's impeachment procedure, which no one is currently considering," he added.

The motion is expected to be debated at 10:30 a.m. eastern time on Thursday, according to media reports.

Macron climbdown

In a bid to quell the widespread protests, Macron announced tax cuts and wage rises in a televised address.

The French president promised to raise the minimum wage by 100 euros ($114) a month and said overtime will not be taxed or subject to social welfare charges.

The knock-on effect to the French budget did not go unnoticed by bond markets however.

At one point on Tuesday the spread between France and German ten-year bonds — seen as an indicator of risk sentiment — reached its widest since May 2017.