French parliament delays debate on Sunday law

Categories: Sabbath Issues

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01.06.09, 08:41 AM EST

PARIS, Jan 6 (Reuters) – France’s opposition Socialists claimed a rare victory over the centre-right government when parliamentary debate on a bill to ease restrictions on Sunday business hours was postponed indefinitely.

Examination of the bill, which has aroused fierce opposition among the Socialists as well as among several centre-right deputies, had been scheduled to resume on Jan. 15 but was removed from the parliamentary timetable issued on Tuesday.

Government spokesman Luc Chatel denied there had been a climbdown over the bill but said that with major debates over an economic stimulus package and constitutional reform coming up, there had been no space on the parliamentary calendar.

But Socialists said the move, which was heavily backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, showed the government was not sure of support among its own ranks.

‘The deputies on the right have obviously abandoned the government on this question,’ said Christian Eckert, spokesman for the Socialist parliamentary group on the issue.

‘This plan did not help any social phenomenon that should be encouraged or anything that could have helped economic recovery,’ he said.

Roger Karoutchi, the minister responsible for government relations with the parliament, said there was no space to debate the measures before Jan. 25 but he declined to say when debate may resume. ‘We will see later on,’ he said.


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