No-confidence vote against French government fails

27th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 27 (AFP) - Opposition left-wing deputies failed to muster enough votes for a no-confidence vote against the French government Tuesday, thus clearing the way for Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to push on with a scheme to devolve certain administrative powers from Paris to the regions.

PARIS, July 27 (AFP) - Opposition left-wing deputies failed to muster enough votes for a no-confidence vote against the French government Tuesday, thus clearing the way for Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to push on with a scheme to devolve certain administrative powers from Paris to the regions.

The motion got the backing of only 175 Socialist, Communist and Green deputies in the 577-seat parliament dominated by President Jacques Chirac's conservative Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) and its allies.

The result meant Raffarin's announcement that he was invoking an article in the French constitution to force through his decentralisation policy had passed its only serious challenge.

The motion had only been lodged as a last-ditch bid even though it was certain to fail, with the UMP centrist ally, the Union for French Democracy (UDF), refusing to turn its criticism of Raffarin's policy into a vote that could have brought the government down.

"For a reform billed as very important, it has had a forceps delivery," UDF president Francois Bayrou said.

The decentralisation scheme plans to break down France's highly Paris-centric administration by giving regions responsibility for transport, education and some taxes.

The opposition has said Raffarin did not have the financial means to see the reform through and warned it would lead to higher taxes.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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