French President Jacques Chirac's center-right coalition, poised to win a comfortable parliamentary majority in elections on June 9 and 16, is already setting its legislative agenda. Chirac's recently appointed Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, says it will immediately seek an across-the-board cut in personal income tax rates, with the top rate falling from 52.75% to 50%. And Raffarin wants new tax breaks for businesses that hire young people.
With polls showing that the leftist majority in the 577-seat National Assembly could shrink to fewer than 200 seats, Chirac's forces are signaling changes on labor policy. They plan to relax the 35-hour work week law, and may not raise the minimum wage on July 1, as the Socialists had promised. Bolstering the center-right's confidence, polls predict the far right will likely win no more than four seats.
Edited by Rose Brady