Mittal erodes Hollande’s popularity
PARIS - ReutersApproval ratings for French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hit new lows in December, a poll showed, as left-wing voters showed their discontent over the government’s handling of the economy.
Hollande’s government has faced criticism over the tactics it used in a two-month battle over the future of ArcelorMittal’s Florange steel plant, which unnerved investors in the eurozone’s second largest economy and confused France’s unions.
His administration is also struggling to stop a hemorrhage of industrial jobs while curbing public spending and raising taxes to help slash debt against the background of a stagnant economy.
The president’s backing slipped by four percentage points to 37 percent in December, the worst rating since he became president in 17 years in May, according to an IFOP poll published for weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche. Prime Minister Ayrault, who reached an agreement with ArcelorMittal to save jobs late last month, but was criticized over how the process was managed, saw his ratings tumble eight points to 35 percent, dipping below Hollande for the first time.