November 12, 2013
French leader Francois Hollande, the country’s most unpopular
president on record, was battling Tuesday to contain a rising tide of
social discontent amid rumours of an imminent cabinet reshuffle.
The Socialist head of state faces more unrest this week with fresh
protests against government policies scheduled by teachers and
self-employed tradespeople in the wake of recent violent demonstrations
against a proposed new tax on heavy goods vehicles.
The protests have led to the measure being temporarily suspended,
adding to the sense of a government drifting impotently from one crisis
to another, dogged by headlines of record unemployment, voter
dissatisfaction and popular anger over factory closures.