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French government dissolved amid internal feud


PARIS (AP) -- French President Francois Hollande dissolved the government on Monday after open feuding among his Cabinet over the country's stagnant economy.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls offered up his Socialist government's resignation after accusing France's outspoken economy minister of crossing a line with his blunt criticism of the government's policies. Hollande accepted the resignation and ordered Valls to form a new government by Tuesday.

France has had effectively no economic growth this year, unemployment is hovering around 10 percent and Hollande's approval ratings are sunk in the teens. The country is under pressure from the 28-nation European Union to get its finances in order, but Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg has questioned whether the austerity tack pressed by the EU will really kick start French growth.

Hollande's promises to cut taxes and make it easier for businesses to open and operate have stalled, in large part because of the divisions among his Socialist party.

"A major change in our economy policy," was what Montebourg had said was needed, just days after Hollande had expressly said there would be no change in the government's economic direction.

The minister's comments angered the Socialist leadership, which said Montebourg's job was to support the government, not criticize it from within.

"He's not there to start a debate but to put France back on the path of growth," Carlos Da Silva, the Socialist Party spokesman, told the Le Figaro newspaper.

Montebourg represents the hard-left Socialist base, and his departure from the government is likely to anger many of the voters who brought Hollande to office in 2012. Since that time, France's economy has only worsened, and the sense of impending crisis weighs heavily.

French officials have already made clear that the deficit will again surpass the EU's 3 percent target and are negotiating a delay.

The new government is unlikely to include Montebourg or other left-wing Socialists and there will be no new election. Instead, led by Valls, the new Cabinet is expected to work toward smoother ties with the EU.

Montebourg's criticism of austerity - and his pointed remarks about German Chancellor Angela Merkel - have rankled before.

In an interview last week after Germany's economy also showed signs of stagnation, Montebourg said France's neighbor had been "trapped by the policy of austerity." He went on to say "when I say Germany, I mean the German right wing that supports Angela Merkel. It's not France's job to align itself to the ideological axioms of Germany's right wing."

Merkel on Monday declined to comment directly about France's change in government but said she wishes "the French president success with his reform agenda."

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rlcallaway August 25 2014 at 7:50 AM

WOW -- taxing the rich, reducing the work day, giving six weeks of vacation, and providing lavish government benefits-- who would have thought that would be a problem. Socialism is great as long as you are using other people's money. Obama and Reid should take note

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theteam4us August 25 2014 at 8:12 AM

No cure for stupid . When people get free , they want more , and more and more and more . Until there is no one to take it from .Take care of me because I can't / wont take care of me .

Flag Reply +4 rate up
sptonner August 25 2014 at 9:41 AM

Typical LIBERAL success???,,,,look at Greece,,,look at Detroit...Look at California,,,Look at Chicago,,,all run by liberals,,,,aka IDIOTS,,,and the chief idiot's out playing golf on our dime

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1 reply
MICHAEL sptonner August 25 2014 at 10:56 AM

yes, and conservative gov'st. have had soooo much success. lets see, hitler....ruwanda....pol pot..... idi amin....etc.

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Larry Hively August 25 2014 at 6:52 AM

Typical Liberal/Socialist reaction. "Don't tell people the truth...just fix what we broke and keep your mouth shut".

Flag Reply +3 rate up
Natalie Roshon August 25 2014 at 7:30 AM

I wish Obama could've dismantled OUR crappy congress with such ease. Oh well, it's a nice thought anyway.

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3 replies
ectullis August 25 2014 at 7:59 AM

What a great idea, we should do the same. Get rid of our socialist "president" et al

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frank1946 August 25 2014 at 8:00 AM

Socialists never get it !

Just Desparate.

Ask Putin.

Best and Brightest have left France.

Ditto Russia !

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
AOL is the Worst frank1946 August 25 2014 at 10:24 AM


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Paul FIQUET frank1946 August 26 2014 at 9:06 AM

and they are moving to socialist Israel where peace and quiet happens between rockets explosions .....

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rudniski136 August 25 2014 at 8:15 AM

This would be Obama's dream.

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1 reply
MICHAEL rudniski136 August 25 2014 at 10:58 AM

you seem awefully close to obabma to know what he dreams.....

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liondog96 August 25 2014 at 11:51 AM

Does anyone really know what socialism means? It has never worked because it would involve turning gold into useful items such as fishing sinkers, door knobs and many other useful things. Why do we need money when we can all volunteer? Read up on it and you'll get a better understanding of what its endeavor is. Socialism strives for that freedom where capitalism is for the lucky ones....not everyone.

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BlessedWithABrain August 25 2014 at 3:21 PM

Now that they've already given so much to the people, it will be next to impossible to take it away - look at how the unions react here in the States when a company tries to rein in the costs that are spiraling out of control. Most people don't understand how money works, therefore they don't know how private companies and the government gets it or spends it. It's not rocket science folks, you spend more than you take in, you're in debt, so you have to cut back. Simple, eh?

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