French politics

Hollande: the inexperienced candidate?

Since François Hollande was designated as the socialist candidate for the next presidential election, the main UMP leaders keep insisting on his lack of experience or even on his supposed incompetence.

This is the current strategy of Sarkozy’s supporters: insisting on and repeating that François Hollande has not the necessary qualities to assume the position and French people would be very mad to not re-elect the current president for a second and last mandate. Hold your horses! Daddy Sarko is on the place, is experienced and still ruling in a context of crisis. So, why getting rid of him? In other words, François Hollande should shut up and back the head of State instead of saying non-senses and showing his incompetence to everybody, as it is thought at the UMP headquarters.

The UMP attack was known and the leitmotiv the following: a man having no international prestige, having never met the main leaders of this world and having never been minister can’t rule France. It’s fair enough and this strategy even worked vis-à-vis Ségolène Royal, four years ago. In spite of all, this attack, if it was a big hit in 2007, might have the opposite effect and turn against the UMP leaders the next year.

Indeed, the 2012 election will not be focused on competence or experience but on the capacity to embody and lead a project and give a new direction to France, a new breath after ten years of right governments, especially. In other words, stressing on the socialist candidate’s lack of experience may be quite hazardous for the presidential party whose some people would insist on the outgoing president’s outcome, an very flimsy outcome that he will be forced to defend. Nicolas Sarkozy knows it very well, being aware the fact that criticizing Hollande on his weak experience won’t be enough.

What is more, the France political History often showed that the most experienced candidates were not elected as president necessarily. Jacques Chaban-Delmas (Georges Pompidou’s PM from 1969 to 1972) in 1974, Raymond Barre (Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s PM 1976 to 1981) in 1988 are good and relevant examples. But the most recent and undoubtedly the most relevant case remains Lionel Jospin, the latest socialist PM in 2002. Considered as the best candidate for the French presidency, it was finally beaten by the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, after the first round of voting, even though he is less experienced then the former socialist leader, if we apply the UMP leaders’ assumption.

A presidential election is not an ordinary election, in France especially. Besides the project, the personality of the candidates will have an important role in the next months. François Hollande is clearly aware of it and confesses he has never been minister without any problem. This “confession” could make some people reluctant to vote in his favour but if he manages to transform this handicap to an asset, introducing and defending a clear vision of France and vis-à-vis French people, particularly, few people are going to insist on his supposed inexperience. Because France is like a woman finally: he who wants her the most, He who gains her love. In other words, to conquest the Elysée Palace the next May, François Hollande has to show and prove all his love to France, if you wish to rule her.