Just hours after Manuel Valls was sworn in as France’s new prime minister on Tuesday, the Green Party rebelled against his leadership, announcing that they would not participate in any government headed by the former interior minister.
The move is symbolic of the many challenges Valls faces as he takes over the reins of government from outgoing prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.
While Valls’ hard to pin-down politics and authoritative image have made him popular with voters, they have alienated him from more left-leaning members of his ruling-Socialist Party, as well as their coalition partners, the Greens.
Even before the Greens’ leadership announced that they would not participate in a Valls government, two of the party’s ministers, Cécile Duflot and Pascal Canfin, had already said they would not take part.
In a bid to ease concerns, Valls said on Tuesday he would go "further" and "faster" as prime minister, but acknowledged the demands for "social justice".
A new government is expected to be announced on Wednesday.
Exactly who will be included in his government is unclear, but there is speculation that President François Hollande's former partner and the mother of his four children, Ségolène Royal, will be asked to take part.
Despite apparent divisions within the Socialist Party, Frédéric Dabi of the Ifop polling institute said that they should iron themselves out once a new government is formed, adding that Valls was likely to have more of a handle on his ministers than his predecessor.
"Jean-Marc Ayrault's personal image is not too damaged," Dabi said. "He appears pleasant, competent, serious, close to the people, but he had a leadership deficit on his ministers, there was the feeling that he didn't really manage his government."
He pointed to the widespread feeling among the French that the government flip-flopped on issues and did not lead the country with a firm hand at a challenging time.
"Through his personality, his dynamism... Manuel Valls could bring more leadership over his ministers," Dabi said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-04-01