French army chief resigns over dispute with Macron

French president faces test of his authority as head of military quits

Speaking to lawmakers from his Republic on the Move! party Tuesday night, he laughed off accusations that he's issuing "Jupiter-like" orders, referring to the Roman god of gods.

De Villiers, in a later Facebook post, did not name Macron but commented, "No one deserves to be blindly followed".

In his first political test at home, Macron, the youngest head of state in France's modern history, stressed that despite the planned spending cut, the defence budget "will protect the country".

De Villiers said Thursday that throughout his career, he had believed it was his duty to tell politicians "of my reservations". After the war of words with the general, Mr. Macron announced a €1.5bn rise in military spending in 2018 in an apparent attempt to ease tensions with the military.

During the parade, Macron rode down the Champs-Elysees avenue in an open-topped military command vehicle standing side by side with a grim-faced De Villiers as Trump watched. Teachers are protesting about the cancellation of €331 million funding for higher education and research, while an announcement on Monday that local authorities will have to make €13 billion of savings by 2022, €3 billion more than expected, prompted fierce criticism.

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It is North Korea that has been provocative with, for example, the bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong in 2010. It was the Moon government's first formal proposal for talks with North Korea since its May 10 inauguration.

Macron has promised to boost defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2025 as part of France's commitments to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but his budget minister last week announced limits on this year's military expenses.

Macron pledged during his election campaign to boost defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2025, in line with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation targets. The euro zone's second largest economy is now stuttering under high public debt and a swollen state.

Despite promising to increase the military budget to 2 percent of gross domestic product - in line with France's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation obligations and U.S. President Donald Trump's demands - Macron made a decision to cut the military's budget this year by €850 million to keep within the European Union's 3 percent of GDP deficit cap. The French army is nicknamed "la grande muette" - "the great and silent" - because of that tradition. De Villiers' noisy departure is rare.

"It's not Erdoganism, but it's not far off", he added in a reference to the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who faces accusations from opposition leaders of being a dictator in the aftermath of last year's failed military coup.

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