Mon Aug 25th, 2014 at 05:15:19 AM EST
French Minister for the Economy (for fake, the real powers being elsewhere) Arnaud Montebourg came out over the weekend with clear criticism of Hollande's leadership. Hollande's 2012 promise to get the economy and employment on the move again had clearly failed, he said; supply side policies could not work without demand-side stimulus, and he solemnly called on Hollande to change course. And he broke the big taboo:
A la Fête de la rose, Montebourg et Hamon mettent la pression sur Hollande
La France est un pays libre qui n'a pas vocation à s'aligner sur les obsessions de la droite allemande
(France is a free country that is not meant to align itself on the obsessions of the German right)
Ooh, he said Germany and obsessions! "France is Germany's friend", that is the only kind of phrase in which a French government official (under Hollande or Sarkozy) is supposed to mention that country.
Manuel Valls (according to Le Parisien) told Hollande "It's him or it's me". This morning he tendered the resignation of his government and was immediately reconducted as PM by Hollande. The new government will be named tomorrow, and, apart from Montebourg, probably other heads (Benoît Hamon, perhaps others) will roll.
Hollande and Valls confirm their centre-right alignment on austerity. Whether they will now avoid a split in the Socialist Party, and how significant the split might be, are other questions.