French president shakes up adviser ranks in bid to boost polls

10th June 2014, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande, who is struggling with lousy poll numbers, has given a major shake-up to his team of advisers, his office announced Tuesday.

Among the half-dozen new names arriving at the Elysee Palace is Laurence Boone, a chief economist at Bank of America who until very recently was an ardent critic of the president's economic policy.

Boone, who is Hollande's new economic and financial adviser, wrote an article just a fortnight ago in Paris magazine L'Opinion titled "Stop the massacre!" in which she railed against the government's "total absence of economic policy" and warned that France was just three years away from massive debts, three million unemployed and a young generation desperate to emigrate.

Boone, 45, has also pressed for closer European integration -- including EU-wide budgets, commercial taxes and unemployment insurance -- while calling for countries that mismanage their finances to be punished with bankruptcy.

Hollande's shake-up will also see new faces in the foreign affairs team and press office, as well as leading input on culture and communications, and sports, youth and community life.

The beleaguered president is hoping to arrest a dramatic collapse in his popularity.

An opinion poll in May found only 11 percent of voters thought he would make a good candidate for re-election in 2017, and his Socialist party took a record low 17 percent in recent EU parliamentary elections.

© 2014 AFP

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