Mon Dieu! Monsieur Hollande’s unpopularity.
By admin October 10, 2014


Mr Hollande, the Socialist French president elected in May 2012, currently leads his country with a popularity rating of 13%, and it seems to be sinking even further.  This is the lowest recorded poll rating since the Cinquième République (Fifth Republic) was established by Charles de Gaulle in 1958.

Even though the overall tax income grew from 43.7% to 46% between 2011 and 2013, unemployment remains at 10% and the economy grew at a meagre 0.4% between 2012-2014. With the quitting or expulsion of various ministers and the appointment of Manuel Valls as the Prime Minister of France, the government plans to reverse its policies in order to revive the private sector by injecting greater flexibility into the economy to boost competition.

With a reshuffling of the government, Mr Valls is planning to loosen Sunday trading legislation and make those claiming unemployment benefit more active in seeking employment. He has even begun to unravel the rent-control rules designed by the former housing minister Ms Duflot, which is seen to be the cause for the construction industry’s woes and the reason why new housing developments fell by almost a quarter.

France has always been viewed by the Anglo-Saxon world as uncompetitive, arrogant and stagnant. It has been described by John Lewis’ CEO Andy Street as ‘sclerotic, hopeless and downbeat’’. However, recession in France hit less hard than in Britain or Germany, and French GDP recovered to pre-crisis levels before Britain’s did. France also boasts high productivity levels with more Fortune 500 companies in retailing and insurance than Germany.

In the political sphere things seem even bleaker for Mr Hollande and his government. Mr Sarkozy’s return to the political arena and his intention to bulldoze through to take control of the centre-right UMP party in November will bring greater criticism to Mr Valls. On the other hand Marie Le Penn continues to reconfigure French politics into a three-party system as the National Front moves from being a fringe movement to a party that won two Senate seats on the 28th September.

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