France’s President Francois Hollande has named a new cabinet under Prime Minister Manuel Valls, dropping ministers who rebelled against austerity cuts.
The first government of Manuel Valls, who was appointed less than five months ago, fell on Monday after a row with Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
Arnaud Montebourg resigned along with two other ministers from the left.
He will be replaced by Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild banker and ex-presidential economic adviser.
President Francois Hollande is seeking a coherent line on economic policy after recent criticism from the left wing of his Socialist Party.
Many see it as his last chance to make a successful presidency, after his recent poll ratings sunk to 17%.
For the first time, a woman – Najat Vallaud-Belkacem – will be put in charge of education, replacing Benoit Hamon who also lost his job.
President Francois Hollande has named a new cabinet under PM Manuel Valls (photo Reuters)
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem was minister for women’s rights in the last cabinet.
Meanwhile, Fleur Pellerin has been made minister for culture, replacing Aurelie Filippetti who is also out of the government.
Key ministers in the previous cabinet, like Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Finance Minister Michel Sapin, retain their posts.
Francois Hollande’s former partner and the mother of his four children, Segolene Royal, will retain her post as environment and energy minister.
The president said earlier that the new cabinet should “cohere to the directions of the prime minister”, who is on the party’s right wing.
PM Manuel Valls said he would hold a parliamentary vote of confidence in September or October, speaking in a TV interview after the new ministers were named.
“And you will see, the majority will be there. There can be no other way. If the majority isn’t there on that occasion, it would be finished. We couldn’t finish our work,” he told France 2 TV.
Manuel Valls also defended the choice of a former banker for new economy minister, saying: “So what? Can one not in this country be an entrepreneur? One can’t be a banker?”
Arnaud Montebourg quit after publicly urging the government to end austerity policies and focus on growth.
France is struggling with high unemployment and low growth, and Francois Hollande’s popularity is the lowest for a president in more than 50 years.
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France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls has submitted the government’s resignation to President Francois Hollande and has been asked to form a new cabinet.
The French government was badly shaken on Sunday by criticism over its handling of the economy by economy minister Arnaud Montebourg.
Moments after Manuel Valls’s resignation President Francois Hollande issued a statement.
Francois Hollande asked Manuel Valls to set up a new cabinet “consistent with the direction [Francois Hollande] has set for the country”.
The prime minister had accused Arnaud Montebourg of “crossing a yellow line” after the economy minister had attacked austerity measures which he said were strangling France’s growth.
France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls has submitted the government’s resignation to President Francois Hollande and has been asked to form a new cabinet
Arnaud Montebourg told a meeting of Socialists in eastern France that the time had come to put up a “just and sane resistance” to the “excessive obsessions of Germany’s conservatives”.
On Saturday, Arnaud Montebourg told Le Monde newspaper that Germany was trapped in an austerity policy that it imposed across Europe”.
He was backed up by education minister Benoit Hamon and appeared to have the support of culture minister Aurelie Filippetti, too.
Benoit Hamon called on Sunday for a revival in demand and for an end to German Chancellor Angela Merkel setting Europe’s direction: “You can’t sell anything to the French if they don’t have enough income.”
Manuel Valls became prime minister in March after a poor performance by President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party in local elections.
Earlier this month, the French government admitted it would be impossible to reach a previous growth forecast of 1%. Germany saw its economy shrink by 0.2% between April and June.
Arnaud Montebourg told French radio shortly before Manuel Valls announced the government’s resignation that he had no regrets about his remarks, “first of all because there’s no anger”.
There was no debate about authority, Arnaud Montebourg told Europe 1 radio, but a “debate about economic direction”.
The French government is considering introducing a 1% tax on the sale of smartphones and tablets to help fund local film, music and images.
The proposal estimates some 86 million euros ($112 million) could be raised per year.
The bid is based on France’s so-called “cultural exception” policy, which aims to protect culture from market forces and foreign competition.
Broadcasters already pay fees to fund cultural projects but firms like Google and Apple are currently exempt.
The proposal was released as part of a government-funded report specifically examining the rise of digital content.
The study, led by the former CEO of French pay-TV channel Canal Plus, Pierre Lescure, proposed a total of 75 measures to “protect the cultural exception in the face of digital innovation”.
The French government is considering introducing a 1 percent tax on the sale of smartphones and tablets to help fund local film, music and images
The report said taxing internet devices could help fund culture because consumers were spending more money on hardware than on content.
“Today we have extremely sophisticated technological equipment that is extremely expensive to buy, but which contributes nothing to the financing of the works that circulate on that same equipment,” Culture Minister Aurelie Filipetti said following the release of the report.
“Companies that make these tablets must, in a minor way, be made to contribute part of the revenue from their sales to help creators.”
She added that the cultural exception remained “a battle for France”.
Lawmakers will spend the summer reviewing legislation based on the report’s recommendations.
The “culture tax” was likely to be included in a budget law to be submitted to parliament in November, Aurelie Filipetti said.
Last year, France became embroiled in a row with Google over government plans to tax the company’s revenue made from posting ads alongside online search results.
The dispute was settled in February after Google agreed to create a 60m euro fund to help French media organizations improve their internet operations.
The cultural exception policy, introduced in France in 1993, asserts that cultural goods are to be treated differently from other commercial goods.
In particular, it is aimed at shielding French culture from the spread of US films.