Bang goes the Government

This morning, the Elysee Palace announced that the President had asked the Prime Minister to form a new Government.  The Government has resigned and the political classes, back from holiday as the country gears up for the rentrée, have been thrown into the white heat of a political and Constitutional crisis.  By the end of the week, France will either have a new Social-Democratic cabinet and parliamentary majority, or the Socialists will have fallen, precipitating legislative elections and likely a new Conservative Government with a thumping majority behind it.

How, in the space of one weekend, have the summer months been swept away leaving bare the divisions within the Socialist party, risking the very existence of the government? Continue reading

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What’s wrong with the Constitutional Council?

August is an excellent month to bury bad news in France.  The annual migration to the coast by the French is well under way, with those who are still in town avoiding the TV news or newspapers.  National life is put on hold, and whilst some Ministers continue to battle with day to day issues, this year Laurent Fabius is notably high profile, flying to Iraq this week, most Ministers (and the President) slope off for a rest.

The Constitutional Council has last week decided to shake the slumber of the political class, with a decision striking down part of the Responsibility Pact on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. But is the Council playing politics with the Constitution, rather than acting as the impartial guarantee it was designed to be? Continue reading