French Prime minister Manuel Valls holds a FAMAS assault rifle as he visits the 43e BIMA French military compound in Abidjan on October 30, 2016, during the last leg of his West African tour. / AFP / ISSOUF SANOGO
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French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, fed up or finally sensing his opportunity, has turned on President Francois Hollande six months from elections in which his Socialist party faces crushing defeat. The trigger for Valls, unfailingly loyal to Hollande since taking office in March 2014, was a bombshell book on the president published earlier this month whose contents continue to reverberate.Valls talked of his "anger" and the "shame" in the party last week, opening up a breach with his political master who is the most unpopular president in 60 years.Or is Valls simply distancing himself ahead of the inevitable crash?When Hollande took office, Valls was rewarded with the interior minister's post before becoming prime minister in March 2014 when Hollande moved his government toward the political center ground.Analysts are still unsure of how the Socialist party will emerge from its current disarray, whether Valls will go down as a tarnished one-time PM under Hollande or reposition himself as a future leader of the party.
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