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France

François Hollande – distant from popular expectations

IN THE RADICAL PRESS / HUMANITE

During the interview with TV station France 2, François Hollande did not indicate the slightest flexibility in his political course despite strong dissatisfaction among the working class and the left electorate.

Pascal Cherki, the socialist deputy of Paris, who had hoped that the President would “change gear” was not listened to any more than the Left Front that has been rallying against austerity policies. Because even if François Hollande does not like the term, he prefers rigor; he plans a course of austerity for at least two years. He reaffirmed his priority to cut spending to state and local government, and help to companies (20 billion euros under the ‘competitiveness pact’), despite the 0.4% fall in purchasing power in 2012.

The President gave strong support to the labour market deal signed by employers’ association MEDEF and three minority unions. Despite strong opposition, including in the Socialist ranks, François Hollande wants this translated into law. This agreement brings more “flexibility” but only for the employer, at the expense of employees. This bias towards employers was also illustrated in the announcement of tax relief for business transfers. In order to appear balanced, François Hollande has confirmed that the 75% tax, a provisional measure affecting incomes above one million euros, which was struck down by the Constitutional Council; this will now be paid by businesses.

Ten months after his victory on May 6, 2012, and while the decline of his popularity accelerates (from 53% to 31% in one year), François Hollande continues on a path that leads him away from the expectations of voters on the left and world of work. This was notable in his proposals that extend the period of payment of pension contributions. Obviously, if there is to be a change in policy, it is not today.

Check out this new interview with Left Front Presidential candidate Jean Luc Melenchon in Humanite: “A general reorientation of policy is what’s on the agenda.”

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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