France’s president looks set to stand by his man – Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin – when he addresses the nation today over the divisive youth job law which has sparked protests across the country. The Constitutional Council said yesterday the CPE First Jobs Law is legal, paving the way for Jacques Chirac to sign it into law.He has repeatedly backed Villepin, who has championed the law and is widely viewed as Chirac’s chosen heir for the presidency. Signing the law would be a dangerous move, said Socialist party spokesperson Julien Dray: “If the president passes the law, and if he does so quickly, as seems likely, that’ll mean he has chosen a trial of strength with the country, that he has decided to force through a widely-contested law.” Millions of people have already taken part in demonstrations against the legislation. It is designed to ease high youth unemployment by making it easier to hire and fire workers but opponents say it will create a generation of what they describe as “throwaway workers”. Yesterday train lines were blocked around Marseille, Rennes and in Paris at the Gare de Lyon. Students and trade unions have called for a fresh one-day strike next Tuesday after up to three million marched three days ago in a bid to force de Villepin to abandon the plan.
French youth unemployment scheme may become law today