French higher education and research minister Geneviève Fioraso, who had been in the post since the election of President François Hollande in May 2012, resigned earlier this month citing health reasons. Her departure comes amid widespread disquiet among staff in universities and research institutes whose budgets have been bled by public spending cuts and ill-prepared reforms that began under the previous conservative administration. Mediapart education correspondent Lucie Delaporte analyses the deep malaise accentuated by Fioraso’s term in office, which many see as a missed opportunity for the socialist government.
The French Minister for War Veterans, Kader Arif, a close ally of President François Hollande, on Friday became the third member of the country’s socialist government to resign amid a corruption scandal. His resignation was announced 24 hours after Mediapart revealed his offices had been searched by police investigating allegations of favouritism and fraud in the awarding of contracts worth several million euros to companies run by Arif’s relatives by a socialist-run regional council in his fiefdom in south-west France. The junior minister’s resignation is another severe blow for Hollande who, after making transparency in public office a key theme of his term in office, has already been embarrassed by the forced resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac for tax evasion and that of overseas trade minister Thomas Thévenoud for failing to pay income tax. Mathieu Magnaudeix and Michel Deléan report.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Monday handed President François Hollande the resignation of his entire government following fierce public criticism of its austerity policies made this weekend by economy minister Arnaud Montebourg and education minister Benoît Hamon. The exit from government of Montebourg and Hamon was joined by culture minister Aurélie Filippetti, who announced on Monday her own opposition to continuing austerity measures. Hollande has asked Valls to appoint a new government, to be announced on Tuesday, that is "consistent with the direction" set by the president. In this analysis of a unique set of events since the founding of France’s Fifth Republic constitution in 1958, Mediapart political affairs correspondent Hubert Huertas argues that Hollande has turned a ruling majority into such an imposing minority that a return to the urns is demanded.
The resignation of budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac after a full judicial investigation was launched over his Swiss bank account sent shock waves through the ruling Socialist Party. Many MPs refuse to believe that their colleague has lied over the affair. Others want to turn the page as quickly as possible and put the matter behind them. But as Mathieu Magnaudeix, Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux report, one thing that is certain is that the resignation has not improved the mood in the ruling party, where one MP likened the current situation to a football match in which his side is being hammered...
by Mathieu Magnaudeix, Stéphane Alliès and Lénaïg Bredoux