December 15, 2016 / 9:16 AM / a year ago

France's Valls would give more power to parliament if elected president

PARIS (Reuters) - Would-be Socialist French president Manuel Valls on Thursday proposed to hand more power to parliament by limiting a government’s rights to force through legislation without a parliamentary vote.

French politician Manuel Valls, former French Prime minister and candidate for January's Socialist presidential primary, poses after the inauguration of his campaign headquarters in Paris, France, December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Alain Jocard/Pool

Valls himself used the so called Article 49.3 of the constitution to force through a controversial labor reform this year while he was prime minister, upsetting fellow Socialists in the process.

“I know very well the perverse effects 49.3 can have... it is out of date and it can come across as brutal,” he told France Inter radio.

Under Article 49.3, a government can override parliament by decree. The only way for members of parliament to block a 49.3 move is to propose, and pass, a vote of no confidence in the government.

Valls said he would like to see 49.3 powers limited to budget legislation only. Changing it would require a constitutional reform which requires parliamentary votes and can involve a referendum.

Opinion polls show Valls as favorite to become the ruling Socialist party’s candidate for next year’s presidential election. Socialist party primaries are due to take place in January, but the polls also show any Socialist candidate would be very unlikely to win the presidency.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Andrew Callus

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