Economy at heart of confidence vote for French PM

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — France's prime minister faces a confidence vote in a parliament increasingly frustrated with unpopular President Francois Hollande's handling of the economy — including dissidents within his Socialist Party.

The Socialists have a solid majority in parliament. But they are split between leftists who think restraining government spending will hurt the economy and Hollande allies, who believe that a country where government spending makes up 57 percent of annual gross domestic product needs reform.

Hollande is proposing to lower the tax burden on employers in hopes that it will spur hiring and put the French economy back on track. Unemployment has hovered around 10 percent for more than four years.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for the confidence vote after expelling dissident Socialists from the Cabinet and reforming the government.