Senior Correspondent, France
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Jul 11, 2012

Cash-strapped France may halt high-speed train expansion

PARIS, July 11 (Reuters) – France may abandon plans for a
major extension of its high-speed train network, one of the most
visible if costly symbols of its engineering prowess, as the new
left-wing government strives to shrink its huge debt.

Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac broke the news in a public TV
interview on Wednesday, saying it seemed extravagant to spend so
much in hard times on 14 new TGV train lines former president
Nicolas Sarkozy promised before he lost power in May.

Jul 3, 2012

France cuts growth forecasts, prepares for cuts

PARIS (Reuters) – Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault slashed France’s official growth forecasts on Tuesday, paving the way for a slew of cuts next year that are bound to anger many after the new Socialist government promised to avoid austerity.

In response to a grim assessment of public finances by the state auditor on Monday, Ayrault said the economy was set to grow by only 0.3 percent this year, less than the 0.7 percent that the previous conservative government had envisaged.

Jun 17, 2012

French Socialists win absolute parliament majority

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Francois Hollande’s Socialists won an absolute parliamentary majority on Sunday, strengthening his hand as he presses Germany to support debt-laden euro zone states hit by austerity cuts and ailing banks.

The Socialist bloc secured between 296 and 321 seats in the parliamentary election runoff, according to reliable projections from a partial vote count, comfortably more than the 289 needed for a majority in the 577-seat National Assembly.

Jun 15, 2012

Hollande’s left eyes solid win in French parliament vote

PARIS (Reuters) – Two polls showed French President Francois Hollande’s Socialists winning outright control of parliament in a weekend election as campaigning drew to an end on Friday, offering him the prospect of a free hand to confront the debt-induced crisis in Europe.

The Ipsos and OpinionWay polls suggested the Socialist bloc would secure more than the 289 seats needed to control France’s National Assembly without relying on euroskeptic hardliners or even their preferred coalition option, the Greens party.

Jun 14, 2012

Royal fights back over French first lady’s tweet

PARIS (Reuters) – The woman who spent some 25 years with French President Francois Hollande has hit back at Hollande’s current partner for snubbing her in a Twitter message many consider the first major faux-pas of his debut in office.

Segolene Royal, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2007 just before she and Hollande split, riposted after first lady Valerie Trierweiler tweeted in support of Royal’s opponent in Sunday’s parliamentary election runoff.

Jun 12, 2012

French First Lady swipes at president’s ex

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s First Lady set the country’s Twitter network alight on Tuesday with a good luck message to the parliamentary election rival of Segolene Royal, the Socialist politician who used to live with her partner President Francois Hollande.

The message from Valerie Trierweiler entertained opponents of Hollande’s Socialists and added a shot of venom days ahead of the June 17 ballot for the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly.

Jun 10, 2012

French left seen winning parliament control

PARIS, June 10 (Reuters) – Socialist President Francois
Hollande looked set to consolidate his grip on power with a
left-wing majority in parliament after a first-round vote on
Sunday, and may be able to govern without relying on hard
leftists hostile to closer European integration.

Initial projections by polling agencies based on a partial
vote count suggested his core Socialist bloc could win 283 to
329 seats in the 577-member National Assembly in next Sunday’s
runoff, shifting the lower house to the left for the first time
in a decade.

Jun 10, 2012

Left favorites as France votes on new parliament

PARIS (Reuters) – France voted on Sunday in the first round of an election tipped to give the left control of parliament and consolidate President Francois Hollande’s grip on power as he seeks to ease the pain of a debt crisis in Europe.

At stake in the vote for the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, is Hollande’s ability to rule unfettered as he seeks to reboot Europe’s second-largest economy.

Jun 9, 2012

Left poised to win French parliamentary vote

PARIS (Reuters) – France votes on Sunday in the first round of an election tipped to give the left control of parliament and consolidate President Francois Hollande’s grip on power as he seeks to ease the pain of a debt crisis in Europe.

Voting stations open at 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) and close at the latest at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), when early returns should give an indication of the size of what polls predict will be a victory for the Socialists and their allies.

Jun 7, 2012

French Socialists kill pro-cannabis call pre-election

PARIS (Reuters) – Three days before round one of a French parliamentary election, President Francois Hollande’s Socialists have crossed swords over pot-smoking with their most likely coalition partner for the next five years, the Greens party.

The discord, unlikely to unstitch an election pact between the two, surfaced this week when Housing Minister Cecile Duflot, head of the Greens party, said she backed the legalization of cannabis.