There were jubilant celebrations last night in the centre of Paris, as the socialist candidate François Hollande the Socialist candidate ousted incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.
He became only the second incumbent in half a century to be booted out of the Elysée Palace. Hollande is the first socialist president in a generation, and for Sarkozy the defeat was perhaps made more humiliating as he became only the second incumbent in half a century o be booted out of the Elysée Palace.
Hollande has promised to ‘revive the French dream’. This meant, he said, “fairness to all,” new opportunities for “the young” and “better lives, from one generation to the next”.
This is an exciting time not just for France as it enters a new era of domestic politics but for all of us in Europe.
Hollande has a packed diary already and towards the end of June, He will attend an EU summit in Brussels in which he will discuss his refusal to accept harsh fiscal medicine to save the euro unless it is accompanied by ambitious, EU-wide investments funded by the European Central Bank.
His vision and ambition is clear. Today it is a new dawn in French politics. You can read full coverage here.
Greece also had elections over the weekend, and although it received less coverage it’s result will impact across Europe.
The exit polls suggested that the main parties would receive a drubbing from the electorate. And for the first time since the collapse of military rule, ultra-nationalists were also set to enter parliament with polls showing the neo-Nazi Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) capturing as much as 8%, The Guardian reported.
Elections are, of course, very important times- but they should also be fun. Yet the Guardian also revealed in its report a different story in this round of Greek elections. ‘Although elections are traditionally seen as a joyous affair, the pinnacle of democracy for a deeply politicised nation, volunteer lawyers working as election monitors in Athens reported voters as being in sombre mood. Many were said to have spent an “inordinately long time” in curtained-off booths before deciding which candidate to back.’
You can read the full article here.
It was a week of mixed emotions last week. On the one hand I was delighted that the Labour Party did so well in the local elections, and Ed Miliband was right to be cautious, telling supporters that there is still more work to do’. And we must not lose sight of this.
Nevertheless it was a good result and we should be encouraged by the result. You can read Patrick Wintour’s reflection on the local elections here.
I was, however, very sorry that Ken Livingstone has announced that he is to step out of politics and will not run again following a narrow defeat at last week’s elections. His final speech in City Hall was dignified and it is a great loss to London.