Socialist French President Francois Hollande’s approval rating has been dropping precipitously since he was elected last spring, recently hitting a French 30-year low of 27 percent. He’s only been in office for eleven months, but the economy is stalling out, he’s bungling his anti-austerity pledges, and unemployment is above 10 percent:
The Bank of France forecast on Tuesday that the French economy posted growth of 0.1 percent in the first quarter of 2013, in line with its estimates, meaning that the euro zone’s second largest economy will have narrowly averted recession after its economy contracted by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2012.
But such low growth could lead France’s government to miss its budget deficit targets, which are based on growth of 0.8 percent this year.
The news came on top of widening trade and budget deficits in February and a decline in business confidence in the services sector, according to a monthly survey.
So odd that Socialism-with-a-captial-S hasn’t helped get the French economy back on track, no? But to make matters worse, Hollande’s promise to run an “exemplary republic” was exploded by the oh-so-dramatic confession from one of his former cabinet members. Last month, his budget minister resigned and he has now officially been placed under formal investigation for alleged tax fraud after he admitted that he’s had a secret Swiss bank account for 20 years to save some of his money from the French taxman. Mon Dieu!
The incident hasn’t helped the widespread impression of a corrupt national government, and Hollande is scrambling to salvage his image — his entire Socialist administration is going to have to lay bare their worldly possessions, and they’re crafting a bill for enforcing ‘ethics’ in politics:
The scandal has floored Mr Hollande, already suffering record low approval ratings, and threatens to undermine his efforts to tackle a stalled economy and rising unemployment.
In a bid to regain the initiative, Jean-Marc Ayrault, prime minister, announced that the government would draw up later this month new legislation to stiffen laws on ethical standards for elected officials and the campaign against tax fraud and tax havens.
In the meantime, he said all ministers would be required to supply by April 15 a statement of their wealth and assets, to be published online by the government.
Offshore bank accounts, hoisting Socialists on their own petards? Quelle horreur!