Destinations Magazine

Almost out of Time

By Stizzard
Almost out of time

BACK in 2000, the French voted to shorten presidential terms from seven years to five. The aim was to make the presidential mandate coincide with that of parliament, in the hope of streamlining decision-making. One unforeseen effect was to compress the period during which worthwhile reforms can be carried out, before the next campaign season opens. President François Hollande, the Socialist incumbent, was elected just over three years ago. Yet there is now a sense that his time for doing anything useful is running out.

A drama in parliament this week hinted at the end of a cycle. On June 16th Manuel Valls, the prime minister, said he would force through a bill to liberalise services without a parliamentary vote. (Amazingly, French prime ministers can do this. Parliament can stop them only with a vote of no confidence, which would mean a fresh election.) Mr Valls has already used this power once, for the bill’s first reading, and his government survived. Once again, opposition deputies have called a vote of no confidence, due after The Economist went to press, which Mr Valls was likely to win.

For Mr Valls and…

The Economist: Europe

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