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PM scraps Germany trip to rally French Socialists

The Local/AFP · 31 Mar 2015, 08:18

Published: 31 Mar 2015 08:18 GMT+02:00

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French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has cancelled a trip to Germany on Tuesday in the wake of his party's drubbing in local polls.

The Socialists suffered a major defeat in Sunday elections, losing around half the local councils they controlled.

Valls was due to take part in an annual meeting of French and German ministers in Berlin on Tuesday, before heading to Frankfurt to meet officials at the European Central Bank.

But his office said he "has decided he should be present" for a meeting of Socialist MPs in Paris and question time in parliament.

The statement said Valls had made the decision in consultation with President Francois Hollande.

Valls took to live TV on Tuesday morning to defend his record declaring that the French public "demanded that he stayed" in his post as PM.

Valls said he was aware of the anger in the country but that the French people tell him to stay in his post, "listen to them and continue his job to create jobs and rectify the economy".

The PM denied that the disastrous départemantales election results "did not call in to question the policies of the government" butthat the responsibility for the poor showing fell on everyone's shoulders.

On Sunday night Valls acknowledged the election results were a setback but vowed to continue with his programme of reforms to pep up France's struggling economy.

There will be "new measures to boost private and public investment", said Valls in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.

The defeat was a personal blow for Valls, who had led the election campaign.

Many criticized him for focusing on the threat posed by the National Front and Marine Le Pen rather than on how his own party plans to pull France out of the economic quagmire.

Story continues below…

After last year’s hammering in the municipal elections, Hollande sacked his then Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and ordered new man Valls to form a new government.

While the current PM is safe, there will be pressure on him to shake things up once again, but the prime minister himself is reluctant, possibly realising that a reshuffle now is unlikely to change the fortunes of the party.

The results were also another setback for the Hollande-Valls duo, whose popularity boost after the terror attacks has long since deflated. In a symbolic personal blow to the pair, both their local fiefdoms (la Corrèze for Hollande and Essonne for Valls) were won by the right.


The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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