The French government survived a no-confidence vote on 16 May, which was called by the Socialists following the controversy over the ‘Clearstream Affair’.
The Union for a People’s Movement government won the vote comfortably, a result which was never in doubt as the government has a clear majority in parliament. The opposition garnered only 190 votes, far below the 289 needed to win the vote.
However, the vote was the third no-confidence vote called since Dominique de Villepin became prime minister and will be seen as further weakening his authority.
The Clearstream Affair concerns a list of secret account holders at the Clearstream Bank of Luxembourg, which later turned out to be fake. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy had been implicated and reports had spread that the Prime Minister had ordered a secret investigation into M. Sarkozy’s involvement in the affair. There is an intense rivalry between the two men, as M. de Villepin and M. Sarkozy are seen as the frontrunning candidates to succeed Jacques Chirac as president next year.
17 May 2006