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Hollande's turnaround may not help France's Socialists

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Subject

President Francois Hollande's turnaround.

Significance

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, the presidency of Francois Hollande seems to have entered a new phase that many see as an opportunity to turn around what has been a very disappointing mandate so far. The national unity embodied by the historic gathering of January 11, where close to 4 million people took to the streets across France, has indeed partly translated into a 'January 11 spirit', reaffirming republican values of 'liberty, equality, fraternity'. This political momentum that the executive power has exploited skilfully is being sustained by an unexpected mix of positive economic developments in Europe, including the ECB's announcement that it will begin sovereign quantitative easing (QE) and the European Commission's more upbeat growth forecasts -- and in the oil market.

Impacts

  • The relative improvement of the economic prospects for France is unrelated to Hollande's actions.
  • The structural political crisis remains as acute as ever, with the FN at a record standing in the polls.
  • Economic issues are bound to become predominant again very quickly, once the phase of 'republican introspection' subsides.
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