Arnaud Montebourg was forced to step down as France’s economy minister on Monday after openly criticising the government’s austerity policies, spurring the culture and education ministers to follow him out the door.
This forced government reshuffle was further bad news for President François Hollande, a Socialist, who is already struggling with a record-low approval rating and soaring unemployment.
Half way through his five-year term, Hollande has also failed to curb unemployment or France’s ballooning debt, prompting a growing number of people on the left of his Socialist party, like Montebourg, to question the soundness of his economic strategy.
France’s economy has been stagnant for the past six months, and the government has had to cut its growth forecast to 0.5 percent for this year, half of the already modest estimate it had previously given for 2014.
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