Hollande wins to bring back socialist power in France
François Hollande won last Sunday’s French election, becoming the country’s first socialist president in 17 years.
Coming to power on a wave of anti-austerity promises, Hollande promised that “no child of the Republic will be left in the cold”.
Across France, his victory of 51.67% to Sarkozy’s 48.33%, recorded by 82% of the electorate, was hailed by the press and the jubilant crowds as a breath of fresh air from Sarkozy’s single term of authoritarian austerity.
Hollande is only the second left wing leader of the fifth republic after François Mitterrand, and has already been dubbed “Mr Normal” by his contemporaries.
European leaders are already awaiting meetings with the leader, whose centre-left policies drew a negative reaction from the markets the day after his win. First on the list is Angela Merkel, who will try to convince him that austerity is still the way forward, something that Hollande has stated his determination to replace with growth policies.
Among the problems Mr Normal will have to overcome will be the threat from a far-from-normal national front, whose 18% result in the first round shows a willingness to compete for seats in June’s parliamentary elections.
It was a bad weekend for austerity fans all-around as the radical left SYRIZA party took nearly 17% of the vote in Greece, coming second only to the Conservatives who will not have a majority even if it allies with the outgoing PASOK party.
The overwhelming protest vote sent even greater shockwaves throughout Europe, giving hope to Greeks that they would have their grievances represented in parliament for the first time.
“German chancellor Angela Merkel has to know that the politics of austerity have suffered a humiliating defeat.” said Alexis Tsipras of the SYRIZA party when the surprise election results came through.
The editorial unit