France’s Labour-type Socialist Party government resigned on Monday of this week.
Beleaguered president Francois Hollande asked his prime minister, right winger Manuel Valls, to form a new cabinet “consistent with the direction he has himself set for the country”.
The government had been split by its own austerity programme.
Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg and education minister Benoit Hamon spoke out against the cuts last week.
They blamed “dogmatic” deficit reduction for the continuing increase in unemployment and the prospect of a possible return to recession.
These moderate centre-leftists looked set to be sidelined in the new cabinet. This further narrows the support of a government that has already alienated much of its support inside parliament—and even more outside.
But the parliamentary left was ill-equipped to take advantage of the government’s crisis due to a resignation of its own.
Jean-Luc Melenchon has resigned as co?president of the Left Party.
This will mean he is no longer a leader of the Front de Gauche coalition, which he once heralded as the new third force in French politics.
Melenchon will continue as an MEP and insists he is not retiring.
But his focus will be making the case for constitutional reform.
For most of this year the Front de Gauche has been paralysed by a deepening split between Melenchon’s party and the larger and more conservative Communist Party.
They have argued over whether to stand against the government in elections.