French President Emmanuel Macron’s government easily survived two no-confidence motions on Tuesday in the aftermath of its handling of a scandal involving his bodyguard. The vote confirmed his majority after a video of Macron’s chief bodyguard beating up a protester went viral last month, reported Reuters.
The no-confidence motions, moved by the conservative Republicans party and opposition lawmakers from the Left and far-Left in the lower house of parliament, needed 289 votes to pass. The first received 143 votes while the second only got 74. Macron’s Republic On The Move party controls a majority in the lower house National Assembly.
The scandal, known as the “Benalla affair”, after bodyguard Alexandre Benalla, has dented 40-year-old Macron’s popularity, said Reuters. The president was criticised for firing Benalla only after the video was released of him assaulting a May Day protester.
Christian Jacobs, leader of the Republicans in the National Assembly, told AP that the scandal was not “an affair for the left or the right”. “This is a question of transparency, honour, integrity,” he said. “That is why, in the name of the Republicans, I am asking you to sanction this government.”
The scandal also raised questions about Macron’s highly centralised style of governance and the powers wielded by him, said Reuters. “This scandal reveals above all the abuses of a hyper-presidential regime,” senior Communist lawmaker Andre Chassaigne told MPs before the vote. “This is not just a summer affair, it shows the ultra concentration of powers by an elected monarch, which undermines the very principle of separation of powers.”