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©REMI OCHLIK/IP3; PARIS, FRANCE LE 17/03/06 - POINT PRESSE DU PARTI SOCIALISTE SUR LES ETATS GENERAUX DU PS ET SUR LE CPE EN PRESENCE DE FRANCOIS HOLLANDE ET HENRI EMMANUELLI....The contrat premiere embauche (CPE), translated first employment contract, was a new form of employment contract pushed in spring 2006 in France by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. This employment contract, available solely to employees under 26, would have made it easier for the employer to fire employees by removing the need to provide reasons for dismissal for an initial "trial period" of two years, in exchange for some financial guarantees for employees. ....The law has met heavy resistance from students, trade unions, and left-wing activists, sparking protests in February and March 2006 (and continuing into April) with hundreds of thousands of participants in over 180 cities and towns across France