|ECONOMIC MALAISE SPARKS POLITICAL CRISIS IN FRANCE|
Aruba, August 27, 2014 - A heavy rain fell on François Hollande as he spoke in Brittany on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris on Monday. The weather is predicted to clear, but the forecast for Hollande’s presidency is looking more and more ominous.
Facing an open rebellion within their ruling Socialist Party, Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls dissolved the cabinet today and said they’ll name a new government within 24 hours.
They acted after Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg accused the government over the weekend of bowing to the pro-austerity “obsessions” of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Montebourg and others on the Socialists’ left wing are speaking out against Hollande’s plan to pare government spending and cut taxes on business—an approach that they say will further undermine France’s stagnant economy.
Montebourg didn’t give Hollande and Valls time to fire him; he announced today that he had resigned, in a speech blasting the government for “absurd” policies. Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti said she’d also step aside, and some other ministers who’ve sided with Montebourg are likely to be replaced as well.