Front Populaire Staggers over its Latest hurdle
Wednesday 1st October 1936
The Bill devaluing the French franc was finally passed after a legislative marathon. It had been approved by the Chamber of Deputies after a debate of 25 hours but it had then been blocked in the Senate, where the Front Populaire government did not enjoy the same majority. It required significant concessions by the government to reach a compromise in the Senate. On top of all this, the Paris waiters were striking.
The original bill had included a number of social clauses, notably the reversal of the cuts in pensions made by the Laval government. These were removed entirely. The bill also gave the government power to control price increases made on the pretext of the devaluation, but these had been severely diluted from the original plans. Much was at stake for the government: its fall was actively contemplated and only an emphatic statement from the Radical leader Camille Chautemps that he would not displace Léon Blum defused this.