Socialism: a new France under President-elect Hollande?

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By Rachel Refkin

On Sunday, May 6, France elected François Hollande to be their new president over  current President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Hollande aspires to set France on a new course towards change for the country; he is the first member of the Socialist Party to be elected since 1981.

Throughout the French elections, Hollande vowed to revise a deal on government debt in the Eurozone to promote growth. Hollande beat Sarkozy with 52 percent of the vote.

During the campaign, Hollande appealed to the French youth. He was inclusive of all youth, not just those of French descent.

This directly opposes the National Front’s candidate, Marine Le Pen, who strictly believes citizens should be French by blood. Le Pen won 18-20 percent of the vote in the first round of elections. But only Sarkozy and Hollande got to the second round, winning the most percentage of votes with Hollande coming in first.

The Socialist candidate made sure to shake hands with people from all different backgrounds and ethnicities, viewing all French citizens voices as equal.

Hollande even had a campaign video set to “Ni**as in Paris” by Jay-Z and Kanye West, which attracted younger voters.

“[Hollande] is more oriented towards the young people of France and social issues towards education. Sarkozy was, in my opinion, more oriented towards a certain portion of the people,” said Union’s French Language Assistant Hélène Martin.

The President-elect will be inaugurated on May 15.

What most Europeans are concerned about with Hollande’s election is how he will handle the economic crisis currently hitting Europe. Hollande has called for a renegotiation of the fiscal compact on budget disciple promoted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Sarkozy also backed the treaty. Merkel is not intent on revisiting and revising the fiscal compact.

The future of German-French relations is a questionable one. Merkel openly supported Sarkozy’s reelection.

Additionally, Hollande is a socialist while the German Chancellor steers towards the right. “I don’t know if Hollande will be the ally Sarkozy was to Germany. I suppose the amount of compromises that will take place will be diminished,” says Economics Professor Tomas Dvorak.

Surprisingly, a Socialist French president and a right-leaning chancellor of Germany have worked well together in the past.

In the 1980s, French President Mitterrand and German Chancellor Kohl brought much positive change to the European Union.

Furthermore, both wish to continue the Euro as a stable currency. On the other hand, officials in Berlin do not want to relax austerity, while Hollande strongly believes in ending it.

But the French President-elect may have succeeded in changing the emphasis to focus on growth.

The French people as well as world leaders have embraced the victory of François Hollande.

He is faced with a continent-wide economic crisis along with high national unemployment.

For Europe, the election of a Socialist is a momentous event. Hollande will reclaim the French influence over the route of the EU and put more recent graduates into the working world, lowering unemployment. France has voted for change.

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