FRENCH PAPERS, Mon. 24/06/13: French papers react to a by-election in south-western France. Though the opposition conservative UMP candidate won, the race was close and is proof the far-right is gaining ground in French politics. The big loser in all this, according to many papers, is the Socialist party.
France’s conservative UMP party narrowly defeated the far-right National Front in a by-election on Sunday, with candidate Jean-Louis Costes (pictured) winning the seat vacated by disgraced Socialist MP Jérôme Cahuzac following a tax evasion scandal.
This Thursday, The French government officially opened a social summit aimed at tackling a slew of reforms, first and foremost the explosive pension reform. Also this week, the so-called cultural exception is once again wreaking havoc as the European Commision is about to begin negociations over a free-trade agreement with the United States.
Since the Socialists won the presidency and the majority in parliament a year ago, they have lost all by-elections: 8 of them in total. Last Sunday, their candidate did not even reach the second round in a ballot in the southwest of the country, leaving the cosnervative UMP candidate facing the far-right National Front. This not only reduces the majority in parliament but also illustrates a more worrying trend for the left: some of its traditional supporters are now lured by the far-right.
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The far-right National Front has moved on to the second round of a parliamentary by-election to replace disgraced former MP Jérôme Cahuzac. The victory is an embarrassing blow to the Socialist government of President François Hollande.
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French Socialist politician Pierre Mauroy has died at the age of 84, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on Friday. Mauroy was prime minister from 1981 to 1984 under president François Mitterrand.
It is a running joke in France: the only thing working in this country is making babies. The French have more children than most of their neighbours, thanks in large part to a family policy laden with incentives. But in these tough economic times, generous welfare policies are being downsized. This week, the government announced that tax breaks for families with children will be reduced, prompting an outcry from the opposition.
The French newspapers are dominated by discussion of benefits – family allowances that is – and the government’s widely anticipated announcement of social security reforms on Monday. The question on everyone’s lips is: who is going to lose out in the government’s overhaul?