PARIS (Reuters) – France’s prime minister will scramble to put together a new pro-reform government on Tuesday, a day after the surprise eviction of rebel ministers who had opposed budgetary rigor.
Manuel Valls will seek as wide a basis as possible for his second cabinet in five months ahead of tough negotiations at home and with EU peers on France’s 2015 budget and he is expected to try to poach politicians from other parties. An announcement is expected by late afternoon.
Valls handed in his government’s resignation on Monday after President Francois Hollande decided firebrand Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg had gone one step too far by attacking his economic policies and Germany’s “obsession” with austerity.
Two of France’s leading newspapers, the conservative Le Figaro and left-wing Liberation, summed up the mood on Tuesday with the exact same headline: “Regime crisis”.
Luc Chatel, caretaker leader of the main UMP opposition party, called for a vote of confidence on the new government but stopped short of demanding that Hollande dissolve parliament.
Aurelie Filippetti, one of at least three ministers including Montebourg who will exit the government, played down speculation that the group would seek to lure away leftist deputies from the government camp and so undermine Hollande’s fragile majority.
“It’s not our aim to provoke a government crisis. I will support the new government,” the ex-culture minister told BFM-TV, saying she planned to focus her efforts on the depressed region of northeastern France where she is a Socialist deputy.
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