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Hollande falls in opinion polls

President marks 100 days in power but voters say he has not moved fast enough on jobs

TODAY marks the symbolic 100 days in power for President Hollande but, coming just a few days after his 58th birthday, opinion polls give him little to celebrate on his holiday at the Fort de Brégançon in the Var - his popularity has slumped to 46% from 56% last month.

The Ifop survey showed a drop in support for Hollande while at the same point during the Sarkozy presidency the former president notched up a 69% satisfaction rating.

In voters' eyes Hollande has not moved fast enough to improve the jobs situation or stop company closures.

His first measures were to sweep aside changes introduced by his predecessor: The social VAT scheme to ease the social charge burden on companies was killed off before it started, the cut in tax on overtime hours was dumped, the bouclier fiscal tax cap for the wealthy was shelved and plans were introduced for an "exceptional contribution" from households with more than €1.3million of wealth.

He has also restored a partial return to retirement at 60, a rise in the smic minimum wage of 2% to €1425.67, a 25% increase in the allocation de rentrée scolaire child benefit - and, alongside this, cut pay for public sector bosses to a maximum of €450,000 and imposed a pay cut for himself and his ministers.

However, unemployment has risen 1.1% to get above the symbolic 10% mark and although today's figures from national statistics body Insee show that France recorded zero growth for the third month in a row - commentators still forecast the country will be in recession by the autumn.

Rising fuel prices will not help and this morning Economy Minister Piere Moscovici promised measures later this month to limit increases, which are now nearing their March-April record.

Then, in September, Hollande's government plans several important measures with the new budget for 2013 and measures for funding the social welfare programme alongside a job creation programme and plans to ease housing problems.

* Hollande takes a break from his holiday today to join Interior Minister Manuel Valls in Pierrefeu-du-Var to meet gendarmes and offer condolences for the deaths of the two female officers killed while investigating a break-in in June.
Photo: Matthieu Riegler

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