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European Parliament Elections - 25 May 2014

On 25 May 2014, French voters went to the polls again in elections to the European Parliament. The anti-European, anti-immigrant Front National came in first with 25 per cent of the vote – a result that was even better than expected. The result put the FN well ahead of the opposition centre-Right UMP party, on 20.6 per cent, which lost nine percentage points compared to 2009. The ruling Socialists clinched a paltry 14.1 per cent, the second drubbing they had received in nationwide elections in two months after suffering heavy losses in municipal elections in March 2014.

This would be followed by Senatorial and then regional elections.

The French government resigned 25 August 2014 despite being formed just 4 months earlier. They quit after ministers slammed President Francois Hollande's plans for taxation and cuts, while also being critical of Germany’s austerity program. The new office would be formed the next day and would be in the "direction he (the president) has defined for our country." Following the 2008 financial crisis, Germany has taken the lead to try and resurrect the EU’s economy. This was marked by cutbacks and taxation, which had not proved to be universally popular within the eurozone. Economics Minister, Arnaud Montebourg, an outspoken critic of Germany, believes that country had hindered France’s development. Montebourg said it was time to resist Germany's "obsession" with austerity.

The second reshuffle of France’s government in five months signalled a definitive breach by President François Hollande with the left wing of his Socialist Party. But it was also a sign that his economic policy had so far failed to return the country to growth and end unemployment. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem’s promotion to education minister, the first woman to hold that position and an outspoken proponent of gender equality, ruffled feathers among conservative elements. The culture portfolio, which was held by left-winger Aurélie Filippetti, went to Fleur Pellerin, formerly a junior minister for foreign trade.

There could be no more symbolic appointment than that of Emmanuel Macron as France’s economy minister, the highest-profile change in Tuesday's cabinet reshuffle. A merchant banker who had worked for Rothschild’s replaced the troublesome and media-savvy Arnaud Montebourg, who opposed Hollande from the left during the Socialist Party’s presidential primaries in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election and came out against his current policies provoking the cabinet reshuffle.

The unpopularity of French President François Hollande fell to a record low in September, according to a 21 September 2014 poll. Only 13 percent of French people say they are satisfied with Hollande’s performance as president. Over 86 percent of France’s population don’t support Hollande, said the IFOP [French Institute of Public Opinion] poll. Hollande’s popularity was the lowest among the workers parties - only nine percent. 20 percent of Left Front and 19 percent of the Greens (Europe Ecology) approved of Hollande. His highest rating was among the members of his own Socialist Party – 42 percent. Another poll by TNS-Sofres also put Holland’s approval rating at a record low of 13 percent and it makes him the most unpopular French president since the Second World War.

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Page last modified: 06-05-2016 19:55:08 ZULU