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A breath of laughter will blow a government out of existence in Paris much more effectively than a whiff of cannon-smoke.

Robert Barr 'The Mystery of the Five Hundred Diamonds'


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France’s economy was not even flat-lining, the public deficit was increasing as was unemployment, which at 11 per cent was at its highest for the post-war period, with over three million unemployed, close to the historical record set in 1997. There were other, more localised contributory factors to the national malaise, such as the controversial increase in diesel fuel tax. Pierre Moscovici France’s Minister of Economy, saw his popularity drop by five points to 29 per cent, the inevitable result of being unfairly depicted as the Austerity Minister. The boost that President Hollande had received as a result of the French military intervention in Mali proved short-lived. Among professional people the President’s popularity held up better, at 36.2 per cent. But among those employed in the public sector, the prospects of further budget cuts resulted in a nine per cent drop, only beaten by France’s struggling working class, where the President’s popularity fell by 11 percentage points, to 27 per cent. 

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- Timeline

- Political structure

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Key Facts

Key Facts:

Key Facts
Official name: La République Française (The French Republic)
Head of State: President François Hollande (PS) (from 15 May 2012)
Head of government: Prime Minister Manuel Valls (PS) (from 31 March 2014, following the resignation of Jean-Marc Ayrault).
Ruling party: Coalition, Majorité présidentielle (presidential majority), led by Parti Socialiste (PS) (Socialist Party), with Divers Gauche (DVG) (Miscellaneous Leftist), Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) (Europe Ecology-The Greens) and Parti Radical de Gauche (PRG) (Radical Party of the Left) (from 17 Jun 2012)
Area: 543,965 square km
Population: 63.92 million (2014)
Capital: Paris
Official language: French
Currency: Euro (€) = 100 cents (from 1 Jan 2002; previous currency French franc, locked at Ff6.56 per euro)
Exchange rate: €0.89 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$44,538 (2014)
GDP real growth: 0.36% (2014)
GDP: US$2,846.89 billion (2014)
Labour force: 28.27 million (2009)
Unemployment: 10.20% (2014)
Inflation: 0.62% (2014)
Balance of trade: -US$48.43 million (2014)
* estimated figure


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