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.
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.
This week, we look at how another political scandal may be brewing in France. Questions are being asked about how one of the leading figures of the conservative party financed her campaign. Next, the centuries-old end-of-year exam in high school is coming under criticism for the amount of money it's costing the state. Finally, we see how Paris is offering its take on the classic American drive-in cinema experience.
Three years ago, France's ruling Conservatives reformed the state pension system, by pushing the legal retirement age up from 60 to 62, prompting howls of protest from the Socialists. Now, the Socialists are in power and they are angling for a reform to try to salvage the cash-strapped pay-as-you-go system. The reform is likely to resemble the one they so vividly blasted in 2010. In other words, the French will have to work longer and their pensions are likely to be less generous.
Eyeing his conservative UMP party's nomination for the 2017 presidential election, former prime minister François Fillon said Thursday that France needs to "reduce the number of immigrants" it allows into the country.
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 opposition right-wing UMP party needed a scandal-free primary vote to select a candidate to run as Paris mayor next year. Instead, voting is mired in controversy. A newspaper checking the online voting system found one person could register as four electors and vote four times. Cue panic. That, as the UMP is still licking the wounds of last year's bitter leadership contest. Join us for Media Watch.
FRENCH PAPERS, Tues. 28/05/13: French papers focus on prison directors demonstrating against the overpopulation of French jails, the place of religion in the workplace, a possible end to the bitter leadership struggle at the head of the opposition UMP party and a smartphone that makes it onto the court at Roland Garros.
Is Europe losing the energy battle? As the US goes full steam ahead with shale gas exploration, European leaders are wondering if their environmental concerns are becoming an obstacle to growth. Also this week, despite the promulgation of the gay marriage bill, the issue continues to send shockwaves across the political spectrum. Especially on the right, where the UMP party, after embracing the opposition to the bill, is now unsure how to deal with it.