French PM Manuel Valls Cabinet Falls

manuel-vallsFrench President Francois Hollande has ordered PM Manuel Valls to form a new government after two senior ministers criticised their austerity policies.

After Mr Valls announced the cabinet’s resignation, Mr Hollande immediately asked him to set up a new one. Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg and education minister Benoit Hamon are expected to lose their jobs.

They had both called for France to tackle low growth by resisting fiscal discipline imposed by Germany.

Offering his and the govern-ment’s resignation, the prime minister said Mr Montebourg, a left-wing MP, had crossed “a yellow line”.

Moments later, the president issued a statement asking him to set up a new government “consistent with the direction [Mr Hollande] has set for the country”.

A French presidential source said Mr Valls’s decision had been a matter of “absolute consensus” between President Hollande and the prime minister.

Arnaud Montebourg, 51, is on the left wing of the French Socialists and has campaigned against globalisation. He came third in the party’s contest for presidential candidate in 2011.

On Saturday, he told Le Monde newspaper that Germany was trapped in an austerity policy that it imposed across Europe”.

He was backed up by education minister Benoit Hamon and appeared also to have the support of culture minister Aurelie Filippetti.

Mr Hamon called on Sunday for a revival in demand and for an end to German Chancellor Angela Merkel setting Europe’s direction.

All three ministers were set to lose their jobs in today’s reshuffle, Le Point reported, along with Justice Minister Christiane Taubira.

Manuel Valls became prime minister in March, replacing Jean-Marc Ayrault, after a poor performance by President Hollande’s Socialist party in local elections.

Earlier this month the French government admitted it would be impossible to reach a previous growth forecast of 1%. Germany saw its economy shrink by 0.2% between April and June.

 BBC

 

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