Au Revoir Sarkozy: Hollande becomes next French President
By: Paul Sherman
The people have spoken in France. Their new president will be François Hollande, the Socialist candidate, not incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire party. Hollande is the first Socialist president that has been elected since François Mitterand in 1981. According to The New York Times, François Hollande received 51.6 percent of the vote while Sarkozy received 48.4 percent with ninety-five percent of the French vote counted.
Sarkozy did have some notable accomplishments during his time in office. According to Steven Erlanger of The New York Times:
In his five years in office, he propelled France, and himself, into a more central role in world affairs, rejoining the NATO military command and helping drive an international military campaign in Libya. He also proved to be a difficult but crucial ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in their joint effort to master the European debt and currency crisis and save the euro.
His accomplishments were not enough to propel him above Hollande though.
In his speech at the Place de la Bastille in Paris after the election, Hollande talked about a creating a “new start” for the French Republic according to Le Monde. He has been promising to bring change and “justice” to a France and a Europe that is in desperate need of a new leader who is willing to make necessary changes. Le Monde has reported that Hollande also said that “this change must be worthy of France. It starts now … I am at the service of France and ready to deliver change. My mission: to serve France, the Republic and beyond, the causes that I have made throughout Europe and worldwide”.
A notable component of the election is the growing power of the extreme parties, particularly the revamped Front National under Marine Le Pen. Even though it did not make the second round of voting, Le Front National has received the largest percentage of the popular vote in the first round of voting ever, which was eighteen percent. Additionally, Marine Le Pen has changed the views of the party from that of her father’s, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Marine Le Pen has changed the party’s stances on the French economy and immigration. The growing influence of this party as well as others will be an important factor for Hollande’s presidency.
It will also be interesting to see how Hollande will deal with France’s economic woes as well as Europe’s troubles. He has said that he is opposed to austerity measures, so he will have to learn to work with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, particularly since France and Germany are the two main states in the European Union.
But for now, he and his fellow French citizens can celebrate a new beginning for France and the rest of Europe.Explore posts in the same categories: Europe comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.