hollande france elections 2012 sarkozy
This week’s blog is on the French Elections and comes to you from Prof. Robert Tombs, Professor of French History at Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College.
François Hollande, as expected, has become the second socialist president of the Fifth Republic, by a fairly narrow margin. He was not the Left’s first choice: that would have been Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Hollande’s victory is due to a considerable extent to a visceral personal dislike of Nicolas Sarkozy among the voters,
including among Right-wing voters attracted to the Front National and who abstained in the second round.
More positively, Hollande brings an image of decency and dignity, but also a reputation for indecisiveness. He has let it be known that he is a moderate, but to stand consciously on a platform more extreme that he really intends – if that is what he has done – is dangerous in a time of crisis. He has raised expectations that will not be satisfied by a few gestures and a face-saving compromise with Mrs Merkel. He will be expected by his followers to lead a pan-European rebellion against ‘austerity’. It is unclear whether his personal victory can be reproduced by the Socialist Party at the forthcoming parliamentary elections.