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France: Government resigns amid economy row

France: Government resigns amid economy row
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In what is being seen as a crisis in the corridors of power in France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls has presented the government’s resignation to President François Hollande who has asked him to form a new cabinet.

It is just four months since the last reshuffle amid woeful local election results for the ruling Socialists.

Since then the premier’s approval rating has dropped and Hollande remains the most unpopular president in over half a century.

Both then are keen to assert their authority after Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg, supported by some cabinet colleagues, openly opposed the government’s austerity policies this weekend. He also said that France should be more assertive towards Europe’s economic powerhouse Germany.

Hollande’s office said in a statement that a new government would be formed on Tuesday in line with the “direction he (the president) has defined for our country.”

Montebourg, though, is unrepentant.

“It is natural for the Economy Minister to lead the debate on the country’s economic orientation and it must be done in front of and with the French people, with Members of Parliament and with the opposition too,” he said, before the government’s resignation was announced.

However Montebourg’s outburst now looks like costing him his place in the government.