Destinations Magazine

French Politics: After Janvier

By Stizzard
French politics: After Janvier

HIS Socialist colleagues once called François Hollande “Flanby”, after a wobbly caramel pudding. Laurent Fabius, his foreign minister, likened him to an insignificant wild strawberry. But the leader who emerged after the Paris attacks of January 7th-9th is of a different stature to the politician who had, until then, been the Fifth Republic’s most unpopular president. Mr Hollande seems to have grown into a role that had eluded him.Since de Gaulle, the French have had impossibly high expectations of their president. He must be exceptional and ordinary, a monarch and a man of the people, above politics but legitimate in his party, in command of diplomacy and armies as well as domestic affairs. And he should embody France, with an elegance and authority that inspire pride and respect.Until now Mr Hollande had, to put it politely, struggled. His escapades on a motorcycle a year ago, visiting one woman while living with another, did not help. Nor did his early mismanagement of the economy or his failure to make good on recurrent pledges to bring down unemployment. A succession of ministerial resignations, over secret Swiss bank accounts or failure to…

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