Will France’s Mr Normale balance on austerity?

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Aleksandra Dukovska

Francois Hollande won Presidential election in France with 51,63% to Nikola Sarkozy who won 48,37% of French voters on run off that took place on May 6.  At the center of changes that happen in France are hopes of less austerity measures in the national economy of France. Will this be an easy task for a new elected French president who stated will visit Germany right after his inauguration wich possible date is May 15?

How the discussion of France new elected president with German Chancellor Angela Merkel will reflect on future relations. First disputes over Europe is the cover of French newspaper Le Figaro. In an online article of Marie Bartnik she writes German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulates to the new elected French president with “open arms”, although defend her “rigorous concept on economy policy in Europe”.

At the same time, experts already were “sketching out the likely contours of an agreement”:

“A putative Hollande-Merkel deal would go something like this. Mr Hollande, as he has already hinted, would modify his demand to renegotiate the new EU fiscal pact – the deal that makes a move towards balanced budgets legally binding. Instead Germany would agree to a vaguely-worded new growth pact, which could sit alongside the fiscal pact”, writes Gideon Rachman, a columnist of Financial Times in the column The Greek Crisis will fast expose Mr Hollande. 

Economic issues, voters concerned with sluggish growth and rising unemployment have dominated the first round of presidential election in France. Despite the information that socialist Francois Hollande and incumbent president Nikolas Sarkozy will head for a runoff on May 6, of the winners after the first round was worker’s favorite National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Marine Le Pen told “supporters Tuesday that she would back neither incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy nor Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande in Sunday’s French presidential run-off”, writes online english of  AhramOnline today.

Le Pen won third place with 18,1 percentage and has enough support to be the key and decisive factor that will determine stay or go situation for Sarkozy two weeks from now. Le Pen attracts voters with her anti-immigration platform that targets mostly Muslims living in France”.

“The race is on now to sway Le Pen’s voters for the decisive second round. Le Pen herself told AP last week that she was not going to give instructions to her voters. While Sarkozy has borrowed some of her anti-immigrant rhetoric and campaign themes of national identity, Le Pen has repeatedly criticized Sarkozy and says he is a has-been with no chance of returning to office”, explains Politico in their article on presidential election in France.

Economist in online edition ask in article: Are 18% of French people racist? Then summarize: “Her electoral success reflects, rather, a mix of disappointment with Mr Sarkozy, despair at the level of joblessness, bewilderment in the face of globalisation, frustration at the impotence of Europe, and disillusion with the political class”.

Further in an online article from February 25, 2012, How Marine Le Pen became worker’s favorite in the north, writes“the Front’s local success is partly down to her efforts to make the party more presentable, ridding it of neo-Nazi links of her father and predecessor, Jean-Marie, who made his base in the south of France”.

Marine Le Pen is perceived as a people voice in France who challenged not only immigration but also has questioned secularism, jobs and euro. Economist argued: “With a magic wand, the candidate of the powerful has become a candidate of the people”.A day after the ending of the first round she warned incumbent Sarkozy not to count on her supporters backing him in the second round.

Regardless if she decide to send a signal to her voters or will keep her strength for upcoming parliamentarian election in June, the second round of presidential election in France are reserved for socialist Francois Hollande and conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.

Is France ready for a change? Online edition of Le Monde Diplomatique in the article Sacking Sarkozy won’t be enough written by Diplomatique’s editorial director Serge Halimi underlines the new French president “will have to make a decision about European treaty that will demand still greater austerity”.

“The choice will affect the future of France, and of Europe”, writes Halimi and comments “new president’s first priority must be to question the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG) and other austerity measures and “success or failure in this will determine everything else: education, public services, fair taxation and employment”.

France Socialists presidential candidate Francois Holland announced today if he is elected, he will re-negotiate euro financial agreement and France will not ratify the already proposed austerity measures.

With so much energy and efforts inscribed in the TSCG by Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel this spring it is obvious Germany could be against renegotiating of this treaty and possible questioning of financial shock therapy that could be imposed by forthcoming president of Fifth Republic, if changes happened.