By María D. Valderrama
Paris, Jan 4 (EFE).- French lawmakers from across the political spectrum teamed up against president Emmanuel Macron’s governing centrist party to scupper a parliamentary debate on the introduction of mandatory vaccine passports for public spaces, including restaurants and transport.
The government kick-started the debate in the National Assembly on Monday evening with the aim of passing the proposal to the upper house on Wednesday and writing it into law by January 15.
But the opposition had other ideas.
In a bid to complicate matters, conservative, far-right and far-left forces presented over 650 amendments to the proposal table by the ruling La République En Marche! (‘The Republic On The Move’) party.
With the clock ticking, the government, which controls the chamber thanks to a confidence and supply deal, requested that the debate continue on beyond midnight.
In what was an embarrassing turn of events for Macron, the opposition was able to outvote the government after the number of LREM members thinned out as the night dragged on.
Before the session was officially suspended, Macron’s opponents took the the lectern, where not only did they voice their criticism of the vaccine pass law but took broad swipes at his government’s handling of the health crisis over the last two years.
It was clear that unofficial campaigning for the April presidential election had already begun.
The row between members of the government and opposition politicians spilled over into Tuesday.
LREM accused the left-wing France Insoumise, the far-right National Rally (formerly National Front) and the traditional right-wing Republicans of hypocrisy.
“It’s typical. Our opponents don’t want to debate, they play games to obstruct, they are a bunch of hypocrites,” LREM lawmaker Yaël Braun-Pivet told France Info.
The government’s ambitions to enforce the change of laws by January 15 look almost certainly scuppered and lawmakers looked braced for a hefty debate well into the night Tuesday.
The proposed law will make vaccine passports — rather than proof of a negative Covid-19 test or of recent recovery — a requirement for entering bars, restaurants, museums and public transport.EFE