François Hollande, a 57-year-old socialist leader won the French presidential election, capturing more than 51 percent of the votes. His victory finally managed to oust Nicolas Sarkozy, the jet set French President who had managed to disappoint his nation big time.
He was unable to keep up with any of the promises he made during his presidential campaign in 2007. Instead, the French people and the world saw him leading a jet set life and spending millions of public money while France itself spiraled down economically and the people became afflicted by social and economic deterioration. While he partied with his rich friends, spent millions of Euros on his life style and vacationed on yachts, France kept sinking in to debt and the rate of unemployment kept going up.
By failing to win the elections, Sarkozy has become only the second French president in the last three decades to be unable to claim a second mandate in French history.
In François Hollande, France will have its first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand (1981-1995). He is expected to be inaugurated on May 15th. Soon after, on May 18th Hollande’s will be meeting the major world leaders during the G8 meeting.
Hollande has promised a 75-percent income tax on the rich and to balance France's budget within five years. He also aims to upgrade the education system and provide circumstances to support employment growth. Hollande aims to renegotiate a hard-won European treaty on budget cuts that Germany's Angela Merkel and Sarkozy had championed. He also has to decide how long French troops stay in Afghanistan.
In all, Sarkozy and Hollande are as different as day and night. French media named Hollande “Monsieur Normale” – an easygoing, everyday man where as Sarkozy was blatantly dubbed as the “hyper-president”.
Born in a middle class family in the northern French city of Rouen, Hollande’s mother was a social worker and his father a doctor. After graduation, he got admission into France’s prestigious Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris where he met his wife Segolene Royal, married her and had four children. Their individual political career eventually put enough strain on the marriage to have it break down after 30 years of being together. They separated in 2007.
The difference in the two first ladies is hugely apparent as well. Here as Carla Bruni epitomized, style, chic and high end living, Hollande’s his partner, Valérie Trierweiler plans to keep working at her job as a journalist and refuses to become a burden on the state. It would be the first time for a president's partner to hold on to a job while he is in office.
France apparently has a lot to gain under Hollande. He has a 30-year political career to support his claims. Hollande’s easy-going nature belies a determination he maintained over a 30-year political career that has seen him serve as Socialist Party boss as well as a mayor.
The French people have voted him in power to bring in a change. He has promised them that. Apparently it seems he is capable of delivering what he promises but time will eventually be the best judge of that. For now, they hope the next five years will undo at least some of the damage of the past five.