ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Mitterrand to Hollande

Is there even one reason why fi nance capital should fear Parti Socialiste and Francois Hollande?

Neither the Indian media nor the political establishment in Lutyens’ Delhi was particularly excited about the French presidential elections and the change of personality at the Palais de l’Élysée following Francois Hollande’s narrow win over incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy on 6 May in the second round of the elections. Now, one might dismiss the result on the plea that the centre-left Hollande’s Parti Socialiste (PS, Socialist Party) is not any different from the centre-right Sarkozy’s Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP, Union for a Popular Movement), in French politics. Nevertheless, with the change of personality at the Élysée Palace, finance capital has begun manoeuvring to determine the particulars of Hollande’s unspecifi ed “growth component” that he wants to introduce in the European Union’s (EU) fiscal austerity rules. Democracy is said to be about a continuous forging of the will of the people, but high finance is already calling the shots. There is some discord though – powerful blocs of finance capital are divided over whether the EU should now opt for elements of the “US model” in dealing with their fi nancial crisis.

The way the French presidential election is organised, the fi rst round allows parties all across the political spectrum to demonstrate the popular support they enjoy, which, in turn, gives them some leeway in influencing the policies of the party that eventually wins in the second round. In this respect, the French presidential election is more exciting and meaningful than the US one, where the system of the electoral college makes it almost impossible for a third party (i e, other than the Democratic and the Republican parties) to have any meaningful say in the fi nal result. But the Indian media and establishment could not care less about Paris. Their eyes are already on Washington and what might happen on 6 November, still six months away.

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