Sunday 15 December 2019

60pc of voters want Hollande 'to admit defeat' and resign

An opinion poll yesterday revealed that nearly two-thirds of French voters want President Francois Hollande to resign. Photo credit: REUTERS/Stephane de Sakutin/Pool
An opinion poll yesterday revealed that nearly two-thirds of French voters want President Francois Hollande to resign. Photo credit: REUTERS/Stephane de Sakutin/Pool

David Cjazan

Nearly two-thirds of French voters want Francois Hollande, the unpopular Socialist president, to admit defeat and resign, an opinion poll showed yesterday.

The survey, which came as France's economic woes deepened and Mr Hollande's reputation continued to suffer from the release of Valerie Trierweiler's memoir, showed growing disillusionment, even among Socialist voters.

Nearly a quarter of the party's supporters now want Mr Hollande to step down, the poll by 'Le Figaro' newspaper found.

However, the majority of the French believe that Mr Hollande will disregard public opinion and cling to power until his term ends in 2017, according to the survey. Mr Hollande has vowed to weather the storm, saying: "No poll, no political turmoil will make me go."

Many middle-class voters complain that they are struggling to pay steeply rising income taxes, due on Monday.

'Le Parisien' newspaper described the situation as a "fiscal overdose".

"Hit by tax increases, many taxpayers are asking to pay late or in instalments," the newspaper reported.

Figures have shown that the economy is continuing to stagnate, while the budget deficit is widening.

The finance minister, Michel Sapin, announced this week that France would fail to fulfil the latest in a long series of promises to its European Union partners to reduce its deficit. He made yet another pledge to reach EU targets by 2017.

Another cause of discontent is high unemployment, which remains stuck at over 10pc.

The president's reputation has also been besmirched by the best-selling memoir of his ex-girlfriend, who portrays him as a cynical, cold hypocrite who despises the poor. Some 270,000 more copies of the book arrived at book shops this week after the initial print run sold out.

"The problem is him!" 'Le Figaro' commented, saying that the poll results reflected the "rejection" of Mr Hollande by "an overwhelming majority".

It may come as scant consolation to Mr Hollande, France's most unpopular post-war president, that a majority of voters believe that Ms Trierweiler should never have written her book, according to two other surveys.

Mr Hollande's government faces a parliamentary vote of confidence next week, when his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, is expected to begin his bid to regain the presidency.

The vote was called by Mr Hollande's prime minister, Manuel Valls, in an attempt to quell a left-wing revolt among Socialist MPs, 30 to 40 of whom have defined themselves as "frondeurs", or rebels. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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