Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
There was a strange, tense atmosphere in France, the weather as undecided as the people last Sunday. But it’s all over now: France has elected its new, normal President. François Hollande narrowly defeated President Nicolas Sarkozy with 51.62 percent of the vote – or 1.13 million of the 37 million votes cast.
Photo: © AFP
In other words: France is more or less divided. The left is celebrating a overturn and is reminded of the victory of François Mitterrand in 1981, the first and last time a socialist President was elected. The left-centre newspaper Libération had the best cover with the headline: “NORMAL!” suggesting that the fact of having a Socialist President was something perfectly logical.
The Right is already thinking about the legislative elections next month, hoping to rebalance the game again. But frankly, the strong showing of the Front National and the Leftist Front of Jean-Luc Mélenchon are more likely to propel the two extremist parties to the centre stage of national policy.
Now imagine my friend V. who voted for Hollande and who’s invited to a birthday dinner party of passionate supporters of Sarkozy tonight. Imagine the atmosphere! She’s afraid for her life after having read the comments of her friends on facebook.
She nearly shed some tears for Sarkozy yesterday. And it’s true: His adieu was remarkable and he seemed gracious in his defeat. But it’s quite easy to feel some pity for the enemy when he’s losing.
Now what will Hollande change? Well, he’s announcing nothing less than the end of austerity: “Austerity need not be Europe’s fate”. How will he do it? No clue. A blogger wrote today “Dear Socialist France, but WHOSE money will you be spending?”
What will change for sure in France is the style of the President. But read style as something more profound than just the varnish. In his first speech Hollande said: “Too many divisions, too many wounds, too many ruptures, too many cuts have separated our fellow citizens from one another. That’s all finished.”