French President Francois Hollande names Manuel Valls his new prime minister after his Socialist Party suffered an unprecedented defeat in local elections. ”In voting or in abstaining, you expressed your unhappiness and discontent, and I’ve heard you," says Hollande.
With Hollande the country's least popular president in half a century, the Socialists lost control of a record 151 towns with populations of more than 10K. Hollande's government has tried to rekindle France's sluggish economy, but has chosen the curious combination of spending cuts and tax/fee boosts to do so.
Still a Socialist, Valls seems a bit more business-friendly and has called for ending the 35-hour workweek and for the government to raise the minimum retirement age.
EWQ +0.1% on the session, +2.7% YTD.