Manuel Valls was flying high when he became France’s Prime Minister just half a year ago — in fact, that’s why President Francois Holland’s put him there. Some polls had Valls’ approval rating at over 70% late last year.
Just six months later, Valls’ approval ratings a have dropped like a stone. It’s now at 22%, barely ahead of Hollande. Valls is now privately admitting “in three to six months, if the situation isn’t reversed, we’ll be foutu“, according to Le Monde. The word foutu has a number of equivalents in English, including the f-word, ruined, or damned. The Times translated the word as “knackered,” which has a similar but more PG-rated meaning.
It is not a word to be used in polite company, and it is very unusual for French politicians to use curse words like that. Valls later denied he had said the word — illustrating the point.
France’s unemployment rate is still above 10%, and GDP growth was completely non-existent for the first six months of the year.
Inflation is down to just 0.4%, way below the European Central Bank’s target, and finance minister Michel Sapin has been forced to admit that the government will not meet its EU deficit target until 2017. Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg was recently sacked for making a speech slamming his own government’s policies.
Valls is speaking to the French parliament today in an attempt to solidify his governing program, and has called a vote of confidence. Analysts at BNP Paribas reckon Valls will likely carry the vote, with the support of a radical leftist bloc of politicians. Those six months start now.
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