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Arnaud Montebourg's feet have barely touched the ground since his appointment in May as France's Minister of Productive Recovery, a fancy title that corresponds broadly to the role of industry minister. This flamboyant and ambitious 49 year-old, a self-styled champion of antiglobalisation, who has worked hard at adopting a radical image on the Left of the Socialist Party, now faces his biggest political test in his ability to stem a mounting series of industrial plant closures and lay-offs, most notably carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen's decision to cut 8,000 jobs. He sits between two chairs in a government whose approach is decidedly more moderate than his own, his brash and thunderous style drawing scorn from both the conservative opposition and many in his own socialist camp. Lénaïg Bredoux reports on the behind-the-scenes power battle surrounding this controversial figure who leaves few indifferent.
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