Politics, Europe

French prime minister wins confidence vote

Some 363 MPs back Edouard Philippe’s government with 163 voting against it

Yusuf Ozcan   | 13.06.2019
French prime minister wins confidence vote

PARIS

The French government, led by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, won a confidence vote in parliament Wednesday.

Following the poor showing last month by President Emmanuel Macron’s Republic on the Move party in European parliamentary elections, Philippe sought a vote of confidence in parliament.

A total of 363 MPs backed his government while 163 voted against it.

Prior to the vote, Philippe spoke about the main priorities for the next two years and said “there is still an economic, social, ecological and political emergency” in the country that required the relaunching of the reform drive.

Referring to the unemployment rate, he promised a “profound change of method” to guarantee social justice that “means making sure it pays to work”.

He also underlined the importance of the environment and the need for creating an economic model “where energy sobriety, clean transport, healthy eating and recycling are progressing much faster than the growth rate”.

Citing the “Yellow Vests”, he said Macron’s fuel tax reform had triggered the protest movement, which then turned into a rebellion against the president's leadership.

Since Nov. 17 last year, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests -- dubbed the Yellow Vests -- have gathered in major French cities, including Paris, to protest Macron's controversial fuel tax hikes and deteriorating economic situation.

Demonstrators held protests blocking roads as well as entrances and exits to gas stations and factories across the country.

Under pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the tax hikes.

Since then, however, the protests have grown into a broader movement aimed at tackling income inequality and are calling for giving citizens a stronger voice in government decision-making.

At least 10 people have died, around 6,000 others have been detained and over 2,000 others have been injured in the protests.

The protests started in France but spilled over to other European countries including Sweden and the Netherlands.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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