• France's news in English

'France is in crisis and politicians are powerless'

The Local · 25 Aug 2014, 14:50

Published: 25 Aug 2014 14:50 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

President François Hollande and his Socialist Party were embroiled in yet another political crisis on Monday. 

On Monday, Hollande asked his prime minister, Manuel Valls, to form a new cabinet after two ministers publicly criticized the government's economic policy. 

Hollande’s popularity is already at an all-time low, but with the appointment of Valls as Prime Minister of France, in April, he had hoped to win back some of his electors, and to re-assert his authority.

But things have clearly not gone as he had hoped. On Sunday, the soon-to-be-sacked Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg and Education Minister Benoît Hamon questioned Hollande and Valls economic policy of trying to trim state deficits by imposing €50 billion worth of cuts.

The rebel ministers demanded a change of tack towards growth and more tax cuts for residents.

But for Prime Minister Valls "a line had been crossed", leaving him no choice but to reshuffle the government and oust the rogue ministers.

Karine Bellier, 41, an HR consultant, agreed that Hollande and Valls had to take action.

“Changing the government is the only good option if Hollande wants to keep a hold on it. Arnaud Montebourg is the economy minister, and criticizing the economic policies of the government was out of line. By reshuffling, Hollande shows for the first time some signs of authority and of leadership," she said.

LIVE: Hollande's presidency is in 'disarray'

Gustave Kenedi, a political economy student added: "After this, Hollande hopes to have a united government. The way I see it is that he is sending a clear message to everyone in his party: he will not deviate from the reforms he has announced”.

Kenedi added that the real question now was whether the president of France would have a majority in parliament to support his new government, and to back up these reforms: “If not, we risk a dissolution of the National Assembly, which would be catastrophic, both for him and for the socialist party”.

Many of the people The Local spoke to saw Hollande as a weak president, who was incapable of bringing about change.

“France is already impossible to reform, whatever the government. But it’s worse with Hollande,"  said Michel Torralba, a 35-year-old computer engineer.

"Just take a look at the economy!  We don’t seem to be going in the right direction. We've already changed the prime minister once, and nothing has changed. I’m not expecting more from a new government," he said.

That was a view shared by Jean Talbot, a 47-year-old transport agent who believes that during such a complex economic crisis, the government has no power to do anything. Reshuffling will not bring any new solutions.

"We are in the middle of a crisis, and no politician can really change that, whether on the left or on the right of the political spectrum".

Story continues below…

Faced with high levels of unemployment and a stagnant economy, French people are worried and fed up, and they feel the government does not realize how bad it is. 

Alice Blois, a 25-year-old office worker, told The Local “the government spends more time bickering than implementing policies to get people back to work. Changing the government once more only highlights its lack of unity, which we are all suffering from”.

Standing out from all pessimism surrounding France, was retired soldier and journalist Gérard Willaume, who told The Local that whether the government changed or not, between today and tomorrow, he would still support it.

“I believe we are on the right track, but what people don’t get is that it takes time, most of the reforms will only have effect on the long run. The global context is bad, it’s not all Hollande’s fault. For my part I will only judge him in 2017, when we will be able to see whether his reforms have had any results," said Willaume.

by Léa Surugue

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available