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Fri Mar 4, 2016, 09:09 AM

François Hollande’s Socialist revolution

French president takes big political risk by pushing a radical labor rules shake-up.

PARIS — François Hollande is making a last-ditch bid for posterity — one that could see him booted out of office.

Fourteen months before the end of his term in power, the deeply unpopular French president is defying senior members of his Socialist party with a controversial plan to overhaul the country’s labor rules.

Unlike previous labor market reforms, this one is far-reaching: It covers working hours, overtime, redundancy pay and social rights, all areas French workers hold dear.

Economists and some of France’s closest partners are applauding a move they say follows in the footsteps of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s “Agenda 2010″ reform program, albeit on a more modest scale.

(. . . .)
Aubry attacks

The real threat for Hollande is political. His labor reform bill deepens a longstanding split within the Socialist party between those who support the Hollande line and those who see their future outside the government.

On Wednesday, the mayor of the northern city of Lille, Martine Aubry, and several other Socialist bigwigs signed an open letter that condemned the labor bill and a separate, highly contested measure to strip convicted terrorists of their French nationality. “Enough is enough!” they wrote.

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Socialist Party chief Jean-Christophe Cambadelis last week threw his weight behind calls for the center-left to hold a party primary to pick its candidate — a significant change in a system where the incumbent runs for reelection unchallenged in their own camp.

The potential candidate that most eyes are on is Valls, who would be first in line if Hollande dropped out.


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