France’s Socialist government today used a constitutional tactic to bypass parliament and ram through a labour reform bill that has sparked two months of massive street protests.
The reform, which would make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers, is viewed as the last major piece of legislation for President Francois Hollande as the clock ticks down on his term in office.
But Hollande, the least popular leader in modern French history, has faced fierce and vocal opposition from within the ranks of his own party, making passage through parliament unlikely.
Hollande’s cabinet decided at an extraordinary meeting today to invoke the constitution’s controversial Article 49.3, allowing the government to bypass parliament.
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The tactic to legislate by decree has been used only once before under Hollande — to force through another controversial economic reform governing trading hours and the deregulation of some sectors.