Macron under pressure over Uber leaks, French PM faces no-confidence vote

Macron under pressure over Uber leaks, French PM faces no-confidence vote

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French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne is expected to survive her first no-confidence vote in parliament on Monday sponsored by the hard-left opposition. The vote comes as President Emmanuel Macron was under pressure to explain allegations of his past support for taxi app Uber while he was economy minister. 

The no-confidence motion from the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI) party will be discussed from 4pm Paris time (14:00 GMT) but is not expected to pass.

Borne is the head of a minority government, making her vulnerable to such votes, but other opposition parties have ruled out backing the initiative to bring her down.

>> Click here for profiles of the new, hung French parliament.

She was named by Macron in May, a month before parliamentary elections in which the ruling centrist party lost its majority.

“We will never accept that someone holds power in this country with their only legitimacy being that they were named by the president,” senior LFI lawmaker Alexis Corbière told the Public Senat channel on Monday.

The no-confidence vote is not expected to pass since none of the opposition parties outside the left-wing New Ecological and Social Popular Union (NUPES) alliance are joining the motion, explained Ariane Bogain from Northumbria University.

“This is a tactical vote of no confidence. It’s NUPES wanting to present itself as the only real opposition to Macron, they’re going to say that all the other opposition parties are complicit with Macron, they’re going to say Macron is suppored by the far-right,” explained Bogain. “So today is performative and I expect to have more of this kind of performance tactics – not necessarily another vote of no confidence, but lots of inquests, commissions being set up for example, everything to challenge Macron and slow down his majority.”

Macron faces pressure over ‘Uber leaks’ 

Monday’s vote comes as Macron is under pressure to explain allegations of his past support for taxi app Uber while he was economy minister from 2014-2016.

Investigations by a consortium of media including France’s Le Monde newspaper claimed Macron held several undeclared meetings with Uber executives while during his term as economy minister.

According to the reports, a “secret deal” entailed Macron promising to help Uber work around legislation introduced in 2014, which sought to regulate the new app-based taxi hailing services.

Le Monde described Macron as “more than a supporter, almost a partner” for Uber over the course of 17 meetings held by him or his staff with company executives at a time when the firm faced multiple legal enquiries.

Corbière from the France Unbowed party has called for a parliamentary enquiry into the leaks. “It’s very serious the idea that with this secret pact Mr Macron de-regulated the regulation of the taxi industry,” he told Public Senat television. “What lessons should be drawn?

The Uber leaks feed into the narratives on both sides of French political divide, explained FRANCE 24’s French politics editor Angela Diffley. “Emmanuel Macron and his centre-right party are saying his job as an economy minister included making contacts with all sorts of companies. It’s no secret at all that Emmanuel Macron favoured shaking up the French economy, opening it up to start-ups,” said Diffley. “What is a little unattractive is the fact that some of his contacts with people at Uber were not marked in his diary. But that is not illegal. There’s nothing illegal here, it’s very much about each side spinning their story.”

© France 24

Borne breaks with tradition

The vote of confidence is a parliamentary tradition in France, but this year, Borne broke with tradition for the first time since 1993 when the prime minister did not offer MPs the option when she revealed her government’s programme during a raucous, testy session last week.

Borne, 61, has made clear she intends to rely on the votes of opposition parties to pass legislation, with the right-wing Republicans party seen as crucial to her future.

Support from the 62 Republicans MPs would be enough for the government to pass laws.

The Republicans and Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, the National Rally, have said they will not support the left-wing no-confidence motion on Monday.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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