French opposition Socialists boycott question time

22nd January 2009, Comments 0 comments

France's opposition Socialist lawmakers boycotted the government's question session Wednesday to protest plans to curtail debating time and the right to make amendments to laws.

PARIS - It was the first such boycott since the twice-weekly televised session began in 1974, and came a day after party members staged a noisy protest and sang the French anthem La Marseillaise on the floor of the chamber.

Deputies called for the resignation of the speaker before storming out of the National Assembly. The opposition has scheduled a vote of no confidence in the government for January 27, but it has little chance of success.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon has rejected suggestions that the opposition's rights will be curtailed due to the parliamentary reforms currently being debated.

He condemned the attacks on the speaker by the Socialists, who say the reforms are aimed at gagging the opposition to President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party.

In recent months the government has accused the Socialists of obstructing the work of parliament by attempting to attach huge numbers of complex amendments to legislation under debate.


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