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France

Yearbook 2006

France. According to CountryAAH, extensive protests broke out in the spring against a new law on youth jobs. The law meant that employers were given the right to dismiss young people under 26 without justification during a two-year trial. The idea was that it would reduce unemployment in the age group, where almost a fourth went without a job. But students and unions raged against what was interpreted as an attack on basic justice and French welfare policy. At many universities, boycotts and blockades were carried out, and hundreds of thousands of protesters repeatedly gathered in the streets around France. The proposal's chief architect, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, for a long time claimed that he did not intend to give in to the "street parliament". President Jacques Chirac tried to save the situation by slightly relaxing the law.

2006 FranceThe Prime Minister and his government survived a vote of confidence in Parliament in May. The Socialist Party had requested the vote in protest against an on-going personal conflict between Prime Minister de Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. The Socialist Party believed that the so-called Clearstream business was "one of the worst political crises" in the history of the Fifth Republic. The reason was that de Villepin would have tried to dirty his rival Sarkozy through bribery charges. The allegations - which were found to be false - concerned espionage, arms deals and secret bank accounts in the Luxembourg-based financial house Clearstream.

2006 France

A bill passed by the National Assembly in October caused great anger in Turkey. The bill made it illegal to deny that an Armenian genocide took place in the then Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The proposal came from the socialist opposition, but many members of the right-wing majority in Parliament voted for it. In France there are several hundred thousand residents of Armenian origin. The law must also be approved by the Senate and the President before it can take effect.

In connection with the anniversary in October of the incident that triggered the difficult riots in 2005 in France, there was great concern about new outbreaks of violence and vandalism, mainly in poor suburbs. Many pointed out that the underlying causes of the riots - high unemployment, discrimination and exclusion - remained. Some unrest also occurred - among other things, hundreds of vehicles were set on fire. In such an attack on a bus in Marseille, the perpetrators did not let passengers get off first, which resulted in a young woman being severely burned. From the government came new signals about tougher laws and that existing legislation should be used fully to punish everyone involved. The four suspected perpetrators were teenagers, the youngest only 15 years old.

In November, Ségolène Royal was elected by a large margin to the Socialist Party's presidential candidate for the 2007 elections.

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