Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

US journalist Peter Theo Curtis freed in Syria

Read more

WEB NEWS

"Ice Bucket Challenge" angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

ENCORE!

An art wonderland: A burnt-out piano, a bed in a box and a giant magic mushroom

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

France

Socialists free to push through reform agenda

Video by Mark Thompson

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-18

The resounding Socialist Party victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections will allow new French President François Hollande to follow through with promised economic reforms to stimulate growth across Europe, a senior minister said Monday.

REUTERS - A resounding Socialist victory in weekend parliamentary elections will allow President Francois Hollande to press ahead with reforms to tame France’s deficit and promote economic growth in Europe, a senior minister said on Monday.

The Socialists, who won a comfortable majority in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, will use a special session of parliament next month to axe tax breaks and increase taxes for large corporations, particularly banks and energy companies.

The measures are part of Hollande’s twin track drive to balance France’s budget by 2017 and persuade Europe’s paymaster Germany to back his call for a stimulus package of more than $100 billion to boost growth.

Election results for mainland France showed the Socialists and their affiliates won 307 seats, comfortably exceeding the 289 required for a majority in the National Assembly. Definitive figures including overseas territories were due later on Monday, with polls predicting the Socialists could win up to 320 seats.

With the left already controlling the Senate upper house of parliament, that would free the Socialists from relying on the votes of the anti-austerity, eurosceptic Left Front or the conservative UMP opposition.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said the government would waste no time in pressing ahead with promised reforms.

“We need to sort out this country’s finances, to ensure we achieve a balanced budget by 2017, and at the same time pursue our priorities in terms of growth, employment, education and security,” said Valls, promising tax reforms to ensure that the richest French pay their share.

Valls said that a resurgence in the vote for the National Front - which won two parliamentary seats and returns to parliament for the first time since the mid-1980s - was due to widespread disenchantment with France’s economic situation.

“We need to mobilise our European partners because piling more austerity on top of austerity will lead to tragedy and a deep rift between the peoples of Europe and their politicians.”

With unemployment at a 13-year high of 10 percent and economic growth stagnating, Hollande faces a delicate balancing act in reducing the government’s deficit and keeping the euro zone’s second largest economy out of the sights of financial market speculators attacking Spain and Italy.

The government may use a review of government finances by the state auditor, due by the end of June, to temper its campaign spending promises.

Hollande was to address a summit of G20 leaders in Mexico on Monday. He travels to Rome on Friday for four-way talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ahead of an EU leaders summit at the end of June which is due to discuss closer economic integration in the bloc.

Socialists welcome Greek result

Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told France Inter radio that Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault could name a permanent cabinet as early as Thursday, replacing the interim government named after Hollande won May’s presidential election.

With all the major cabinet members, including Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici, having won their legislative seats, no major changes were expected.

Vallaud-Belkacem welcomed the victory of the conservative, pro-bailout New Democracy party in Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Greece. The result, relegating the far-left SYRIZA party to second place, sent European stocks and the euro currency higher on Monday.

“It is true that we are pleased that they have chosen the euro,” she said. “We are ready to help them with this. President Hollande has fought to put growth back on the European agenda precisely to send a positive signal to the Greeks.”

Following the defeat of the Socialists’ former presidential candidate Segolene Royal - Hollande’s ex-partner of 25 years - in the western city of La Rochelle, Vallaud-Belkacem paid tribute to the role she had played in the Socialist’s national victory.

“We need her and she can still play a role. It’s up to her to decide,” she said.

 

Date created : 2012-06-18

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    France's parliamentary runoff as it happened

    Read more

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Royal concedes bitter defeat in La Rochelle

    Read more

  • FRENCH ELECTIONS 2012

    Le Pen’s niece leads National Front’s return to French parliament

    Read more

COMMENT(S)