The resignation of economy minister Emmanuel Macron from François Hollande's government on Tuesday to further his own electoral aspirations has dealt what looks like a fatal blow to the French president's already dwindling hopes ahead of next year's presidential election. But as Mediapart's editor François Bonnet argues, it also illustrates how an entire political system, that of France's Fifth Republic, is coming to an end.
French economy minister Emmanuel Macron on Friday handed veteran far-right politician Philippe de Villiers a public return to legitimacy, paying visit to the latter's money-spinning theme park and praising him as a"cultural entrepreneur". Amid the high-profile visit, the socialist government minister also proclaimed that "I am not socialist". Ahead of an expected bid for the presidency in elections due next May, Macron now regularly stars as the cover story for French weekly Paris-Match, in what appears almost a mirror image of the magazine's coverage dedicated last year to Nicolas Sarkozy. Here, Mediapart editor François Bonnet argues that Macron's political manoeuvring is nothing but an empty vase, and made possible only by the weakness of a used-up government approaching its final bow.
The unemployment rate in France dropped below 10% during the second quarter of this year, and for the first time since 2012, according to figures released on Thursday by the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). The news appears to pave the way for President François Hollande to announce his re-election bid in next year’s presidential elections but, as Martine Orange reports in this analysis of the figures, the slight fall in official jobless numbers cannot mask the grim reality of France’s endemic unemployment.
Many experts in Africa want to see an end of the 'CFA franc', the currency backed by the French Treasury which was created 70 years ago and still used by 14 former colonies on the continent. But as Fanny Pigeaud reports in this second and concluding article on Africa's 'Franc Zone', the French authorities take a dim view of any criticism of the currency.
Within a few weeks of taking over as the the new chief executive of Air France-KLM, Jean-Marc Janaillac found himself confronted with a strike by the airline's French cabin crew. They are angry that their current work contract guaranteeing conditions and pay has only been extended for 17 months. Dan Israel examines the wider prospects for industrial harmony at France's troubled flagship carrier.