Mere hours after his inauguration, the bad news is piling up for French President François Hollande.First came reports that the day before he took office, a group of French Catholics took to the streets to protest his social policies, which include support for gay marriage, euthanasia, and reducing funding to religious schools, according to the Wall Street Journal. These protests are still relatively small, but despite his victory, Hollande still cannot afford to ignore voters; France is holding legislative elections next month, and if he wishes to have more freedom to pursue his policies, the Socialists will need to have a strong showing.The second bit of bad news was that Moody’s has downgraded the credit rating of 26 Italian banks. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti has taken a technocratic approach to austerity programs and workforce liberalization, but the resulting collapse in demand is crushing Italy’s economy, bringing renewed danger not just to the country’s banking system but the entire EU rescue plan as well. This news comes just in advance of Hollande’s high-profile meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is now likely to become much more urgent, and potentially more heated.Finally, shortly after taking off for the flight from Paris to Berlin, Hollande’s plane was forced to turn back when it was struck by lightning. Call us superstitious, but this is a bad omen, to say the least. Hollande must be hoping that those Catholic protesters don’t have a special connection upstairs.
Bad Omens for Hollande