French Prime minister Dominique de Villepin speaks during a press conference. Villepin, fighting for his political life over an aborted youth jobs reform that brought millions on to the streets, appeared to rule out resigning over the crisis.
ASSociated Press: French PM Rejects Resignation Speculation
Some 2,000 angry students massed on railroad tracks in Paris Thursday, halting international train traffic in a fresh push to force a new youth labor law off the books.
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin refused to say whether the measure would be repealed.
Villepin spoke more clearly about his own destiny, brushing off growing speculation that he would resign.
President Jacques Chirac “gave me a mission, and this mission, I will lead it to the end,” Villepin told a news conference. “All the rest is pure speculation and fantasy.”
Well, President Chirac “PIMP SLAPPED” Villepin last week when he agreed to modify the CPE and Villepin still wants to stay for more abuse.
Students invade the Toulouse train station, southwestern France, Thursday April 6, 2006. Students and unions have been in a weeks-long standoff with the conservative government over the law, which will make it easier for companies to hire and fire young workers.
Calling for calm, he said he was listening to the voices of discontent over his reform aimed at denting sky-high joblessness among youth by making it easier for employers to hire and fire younger workers. Lawmakers from the governing Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, met for a second day with unions and students in search of a way out. Protesters are demanding the measure be withdrawn.
“The immediate priority, as we all know, is restoring calm,” Villepin said. “It is time to get out of the crisis.”
Well, Villepin is right about restoring order and to get out of crisis mode. And he may have been right in principle with the CPE and reducing youth unemployment.
But, the French people are used to socialism and want the easy redistributive life.
Villepin relentlessly defended the job proposal for weeks until Chirac signed the controversial measure into law last weekend but ordered the talks with labor and student groups.
Villepin refused to prejudge the outcome of negotiations, appearing to back down from his previous, inflexible stance.
“I am pragmatic. In this time of dialogue it is important to be open,” he said. “I am listening.”
But the prime minister insisted that the 23 percent youth unemployment rate, which climbs above 50 percent in depressed, heavily immigrant neighborhoods, is at the heart of many French problems, including riots last fall.
“It is my responsibility, as head of the government, not to allow such a situation go unanswered,” he said. “Our country today needs action.”
France does need action.
But, it appears it will be Nicolas Sarkozy who will next lead the country and not Dominique de Villepin.
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