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French President Hollande 'Finished'. How Much Longer Can Merkel Last

Hollande is facing the worst crisis in his political career as socialist party infighting reduces his government to chaos, his popularity rating plummets to an appalling 19 percent, and the migrant cirsis continues to escalate.
edited by Ian R Thorpe

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Image Source: Security forces on the streets of Paris after November 2015 terror attacks. Was President Hollande a bit too calm as he responed to the terrorists The Star

Hollande has faced increasing opposition from within his own party in recent months due to his failure to get a grip on the failing French economy or to reduce unemployment, which currently stands at an 18-year high of 10.6 percent, with youth unemployment (16 - 24 age group) even worse. He is also facing a backlash from unions and workers rights campaigners over his attempt to change the French employment laws to make it easier for companies to sack employees and to abandon the 35-hour week.

His lack of authority has prompted Thomas Guénolé, a political analyst for Paris-based institute Vox Politica, to say the media were "refusing to acknowledge the obvious: that Hollande is finished." The infighting within his Socialist Party has reached such proportions that Guénolé said:

"Right now, the Socialists' election prospects are so bleak anyone who carries the party's mantle would be heading for the abattoir."

Hollande is struggling to maintain any sense of leadership with 79 percent of the French saying they are dissatisfied with his performance as president. He enjoyed a surge in popularity following the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks, but this reflected more on his role as president of a country gripped by terror than his personal rating. In fact Hollande was so calm in the wake of the terrorist attacks some opponents wondered if he understood what had happened.

Hollande's failure to tackle immigration, economic and unemployment issues have left the country in a state bordering on civil unrest. Unemployment is nearing 4 million, there is considerable industrial unrest not least within Air France which has been losing money hand-over-fist for years. A pilots' strike has added to the airline's woes and his has announced 2,900 job losses.

His counterterrorism measures — which included extending the state of emergency and introducing censorship of dissinent and anti immigration websites and granting police and security agenies considerable extra surveillance powers proved too much for many, who saw this as an intrusion into French liberties. His justice minister Christiane Taubira resigned over the issue.

Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille — along with 17 other left-wing figures, wrote a scathing column in the newspaper accusing Hollande and his prime minister, Manuel Valls, of crippling both the Socialist Party (PS) and the country.

"Enough is enough. What will remain of the ideas of Socialism when, day after day, its principles and its basis are being undermined?" Aubry wrote.

On Tuesday, her supporters quit the party's executive board, cementing the split at the heart of France's ruling party. Hollande's poor personal ratings and the deep divisions within his party have — so far — led him to refrain from announcing his candidacy for the 2017 presidential race, which could yet see Front National leader Marine Le Pen poll more than him in the preliminary elections in November.

Merkel Faces ‘No Confidence’ Calls If She Fails To Find A European Deal For The Migrant Crisis

The chairman of the centre-right Free Democratic Party of Germany, Christian Lindner, said Angela Merkel’s credibility will be “badly tarnished” if she fails to win a European deal for the migrant crisis at the next European Union (EU) summit, such that she should have to ask the Bundestag for a vote of confidence in her government.

“We cannot simply ignore the remarks of Horst Seehofer [Chancellor Merkel’s coalition partner who has expressed concern at the amount of migrants since last year],” Mr. Lindner said, “the massive quarrels and deep distrust paralyse the entire government in one of the greatest tests to our country.”

As more party members within the ranks of the ruling coalition express doubt in the ability of the chancellor to lead Germany through the crisis, Mr. Lindner remarked that there was a need for the German people and the German government to have clarity on how many politicians within the Bundestag still support the chancellor and her failed policies.

“Either she has the confidence of her coalition, and so may continue their current policy, or she doesn’t,” he said.

There are very few politicians in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany who seem to agree with the way the migrant crisis has been and is being handled. Many like Lindner are pushing hard for a European solution to the crisis, but with the actions of states like the Visegrad 4 bloc of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic (V4) simply rejecting the idea of taking in any migrants, the plans are falling apart.


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Marine Le Pen's bid to emulate the Brexit and Trump shocks and in the face of adverse polling figures win election a risked a setbacks President of France received a potentially damaging blow on Friday (April 28) when her deputy, who is currently leading the Front National (FN) party leaving Le Pen to focus on her campaign was forced to step down in order to defend himself against charges that he shares the views of Holocaust deniers.

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