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François Hollande: candidate for the presidential elections

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Francois Hollande, the socialist winner of the Primaries runs for president in 2012. Socialists believe in the success of their candidate who does not get frightened by the harsh critics of the right wing. Will the left wing be able to mark a turning point in French politics? Is Holland the best possible candidate?
Source: Flickr

A suitable candidate

Hélène Legay | translated by: Hélène Legay | 2013. January 14. 13:37

In recent weeks, the candidates of the French presidential election of 2012 were gradually presented. Among them, was François Hollande, who won the Primarie of his party. In spite of the numerous attacks he endured he remains a very serious candidate and represents the chance of the left-wing.

Many criticisms have been formed against François Hollande for several months. These criticisms have intensified ever since he became the candidate of the Socialist Party in the presidential election. He was accused of having his appointment to the defection of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of representing a “soft” left-wing that is only able to function with compromises and even of not having the stature of a president nor the experience of a high officer. However, we should look beyond these simplistic assertions as François Hollande is a good candidate for the presidential elections.

*The advantages of the socialist candidate

Even if François Hollande was overshadowed by the aura of the director of the International Monetary Fund who seemed to be the most qualified candidate in case of a crisis he is also extremely competent in economics. He obtained a degree in law, attended HEC Paris and Science Po Paris, then at ENA he worked as a counselor at the Court of Auditors and currently he is a member of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly. In times of crisis, such economic competences are very welcome, if not indispensable. When it comes to the criticism stating that, he doesn’t have the experience of a high office it seems useful to recall that even though he has never been a minister, François Hollande led the socialist party for eleven years. He was also the director of the Cabinet’s two spokesmen - Max Gallo and Roland Dumas - for the government under the presidency of Mitterand. Finally François Hollande has been for a long time the local councilor in Corrèze. He is at the moment a deputy of Corrèze, and his mandate as President of the General Council ended a few months ago. This last point is crucial. In this way Francois Hollande keeps a grasp on the reality of the everyday life of French citizens, what seems to be an asset to the post of the President of the Republic.

*A candidate legitimized by the socialist primaries

Socialist primaries took place on 9 and 16 of October, 2011, which as an event was not a novelty. However, for the first time in the socialist party’s history, all the French were able to vote not only the party members. This sight change is not to be overlooked. Indeed François Hollande has gained greater legitimacy through the primaries open to all. Among the 2.9 voters who participated in the second round, 56,6% voted for him. Hollande, who has von this election benefits already of a certain amount of legitimacy even prior to the campaign for he won an election on a national scale even though not all French voters participated.

*A candidate with the program of a united left

François Hollande is a candidate who defends the program of a united left. He is a realistic person, who does not hesitate to tell clearly to the French people that sacrifices will be necessary in order to cut the debt and to return to a certain financial balance but also advocates an upgrading of public services that have suffered much over the past five years,, and above all promotes social equality in financial matters – which also failed in the past years. There is an urgent need to reduce the excessive payments of the privileged few and to initiate a real tax reform that will enhance equality based for example on the same tax rate for capital income and bonuses for those of work. This is what, among others is the socialist program, advocated by Francois Hollande. In social matters he would like to restore more justice in the reformed system of pensions, by setting the legal age of retirement by 60 years. This would enable, those who have started working at an early age would be able to retire by the time they are 60. He also intends to upgrade public services, especially hospitals and education where is now, due the last few years’ decadency., there is a huge lack of personnel and equipment.

In spite of all criticism against Francois Hollande is a candidate with important personal qualities, especially in the current conditions; he is a specialist in economics and finance, experienced in high responsibility positions although he has never been a minister. He is enforced in legitimacy by winning the Primaries of his party. François Hollande is the candidate defending a social program, fighting for more justice and representing the values of a united left party - these are the main facts, making him an excellent presidential candidate and a very serious competitor of the candidate of the UMP.

The candidate of the “soft left”

Constance Marécheau | translated by: Constance Marécheau | 2013. January 14. 13:37

François Hollande, the candidate of the Socialist Party (PS), presented his campaign team on the 16th of October. “The diversity of the party is represented” according to his campaign manager Mr. Moscovici. It is exactly this eternal aim for consensus at the expense of taking definite decisions what characterizes the candidate.

In October the socialist supporters voted François Hollande as the candidate for the presidential elections to be held in May 2012. François Hollande is declared to be the winner against Martine Aubry. Thin, supported by his new partner the deputy of Corrèze seems to be self-confident about the fight in the upcoming months.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Sarkozy is doing all he can right now to save France and Europe from the Greek crisis, working side-by-side at the G20 with Barack Obama. The surveys show us a progression of the intentions to vote for the actual head of the state. In the last times there were several events showing the weaknesses of François Hollande.

*François Hollande lost the battle against credibility

The biggest problem of François Hollande is his softness. Being the first secretary of the Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008, he didn’t manage to create a real unity in its ranks, at the expense of the creation of a new line of doctrine, especially after the referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty in 2005, than the presidential Inauguration of 2007.

Then François Hollande stands out by his a lack of experience.. He has never filled a post in the government, contrarily to Nicolas Sarkozy. According to a counselor of the current head of state, François Hollande “has lost the battle of credibility”, because “French people want their presidents to have a sacrificial path”.

*Populist and unrealistic economic propositions

The socialist candidate proposes to hire 60 000 teachers, which means 500 million Euros to be paid to these officials before they reach retirement age, a sum which seems incredibly high, given that the debt of France amounts to more than 1000 billions of Euros. The candidate also promises to return to the age of retirement at 60. This age was pushed out to 62 by 2018, by the government last year. Given the current level of French public services and life expectancy, such a proposition is demagogic, since the average age of retirement is 65 years in the majority of the countries of the European Union. The socialist candidate also proposes to decrease the salaries of the Ministers and of the President by 30%. It is hard to imagine that these, purely demagogic proposals would change the everyday of the French.

*Lack of audacity and firmness in the answers proposed for the crisis

Qualified as the “irresponsible commentator” of the G20 and the crisis of the right wing, receiving criticism for his hesitation by the economists of the left wing, François Hollande denounces the austerity plan, announced by François Fillon, the Prime Minister of France but without proposing any alternatives. He does have some solutions: the launch of Eurobonds, European bonds, and authorization for the European Central Bank to buy back shares of the countries attacked by speculations. However, it is well known that Germany shall veto these solutions. What people expect of the left wing is precisely to be an alternative to the austerity policy pursued by the government.

As the Tribune of Genève said “has he lost his fat, the candidate of the socialist party hasn’t gained muscles yet”. The softness could really make him lose against Nicolas Sarkozy.

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

This article convinced me.

This article deliberately presents only one of the many existing points of views of this contorversial subject. Its content is not necessarily representative of its author's personal opinion. Please have a look at Duel Amical's philosophy.

The state of votes

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A suitable candidate

Hélène Legay|translated by: Hélène Legay

The candidate of the “soft left”

Constance Marécheau| translated by: Constance Marécheau

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