The Herald reports:
Radicals both right and left are sensing that France’s political tide is rising in their favour, driven by a President plumbing record unpopularity less than a year after taking office.
Francois Hollande, a Socialist already under fire for economic mismanagement, is bogged down in a scandal unleashed by his Budget Minister, Jerome Cahuzac.
Svelte and smooth-tongued, Cahuzac had been leading Hollande’s campaign to fill the state’s coffers by raising taxes, urging citizens to pay their fiscal dues as “solidarity” towards others.
Last week, Cahuzac quit after admitting he had had a secret bank account in Switzerland for decades.
David Shearer is lucky he remembered about his foreign bank account while he was Opposition Leader. Imagine the impact if he been a Minister or Prime Minister and it emerged.
Hollande romped to the presidency on May 6 on campaign promises to govern France competently, fairly and cleanly. He declared he would roll back unemployment, meet the EU’s targets on borrowing and, after decades of scandals embroiling both left and right, give France an “exemplary” government.
Today, his approval rating stands at only 27 per cent, the lowest of any president in modern French history at such an early point in his tenure.
Unemployment has risen like an express lift, affecting 3.188 million people, or nearly one in nine of the workforce – a tad short of a record set in 1997.
The budget deficit is 4.8 per cent of GDP, compared to Hollande’s pledge, since abandoned, to meet the EU’s limit of 3 per cent last year.
Public debt rose in 2012 to an astronomical 90.2 per cent of GDP, compared with 85.8 per cent in 2011 – and Hollande’s own target of 89.9 per cent.
Socialism doesn’t work. He’s hiked taxes and spending, and I think Labour’s housing plan is based on his pledge to build 500,000 homes a year.
To get some idea of how unpopular he has become, Reuters reports that National Front Leader Marine Len Pen has a higher approval rating than Hollande.