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What does the future hold for Hollande?

Following a 75% disapproval rating, Harry Ashcroft argues that Hollande must do more with the extensive mandate that he holds.

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Photo Credit: Parti Socialiste
Photo Credit: Parti Socialiste


In early May last year, the newly elected French President was enjoying his first month in office following the defeat of Nicholas Sarkozy, the first incumbent to lose office since Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1981.

But what of the hope and exultation that followed him to the highest office in the French republic? Could such a political style ever be expected to maintain such momentum? Was his election based upon the extreme apathy held towards UMP, or is this more serious?

In the age of deficits, austerity and 'being all in this together', is this the first real crisis of the 'Plan B', and the Keynesian approach to the worldwide crisis of debt that we find ourselves in? The French economy is now in recession, and that recession is not the legacy of his right wing predecessor, but of the policies enacted (or not enacted) during his time in office.

Approval ratings give Hollande a 75 per cent disapproval, with his first year in office marked not by radical reform, but protest and a perception of inaction. This fact can be best demonstrated through the rejection of his landmark 70 per cent plus taxations on the wealthiest by the constitutional courts.

Whilst France has deep seated social problems, worsened by massive economic polarity across the political spectrum, this cannot really be an excuse for the French president. Hollande's Socialist Party last year won both legislative houses on top of the presidency, a mandate far beyond the political achievements of his year in office.
Hollande may be forgiven seeing as his presidency is still young, yet with regular press announcements declaring the intentions of himself and of his party, one begs the question, with such a mandate why would he do so little?

I believe Hollande cannot truly enact a Keynesian remedy to France's deficit crisis, simply because of the sheer size and scale of the Republic's fiscal problems. Not only does France have a comparative fiscal deficit to the UK, but is also trapped in the European Economic Community's Fiscal Pact, a last laugh from Nicholas Sarkozy and everyone else removed from the French political sphere in 2012.

By having to maintain a deficit no bigger than 3 per cent of his budget, Hollande can do little to stimulate the economy through spending, and with his tax rises currently on hold, what remains is the stark lack of support for private enterprise. This, alongside the broken promise of public investment, does not bode well for the recovery.

Hollande's mantra focused on the role of the public sector in the revival of the French economy, yet both reality and the laws governing the Eurozone have stopped that. To save France, himself and his presidency, Hollande must be bold and remove himself from the political inertia he has found himself in.

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1 Comment

Anonymous Posted on Friday 15 Nov 2019

Subhead makes it sounds like Harry Ashcroft faces a 25% approval rating

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