French politics

The transfer of powers

François Hollande was officially invested as the 7th president of the 5th French Republic the last Tuesday, just after the transfer of powers with Nicolas Sarkozy.

France’s newly-elected President Francois Hollande arrives at the Elysee Palace for the handover ceremony in Paris, the 15th of May

François Hollande wanted a sober and simple transfer to make a break-up with his predecessor. For instance, if Nicolas Sarkozy invited his wife and his children to the inauguration – showing the picture of a modern and reconstituted family – François Hollande did things on the opposite. His four children preferred to decline the invitation, putting some distance, as Ségolène Royal, his ex-companion, anticipating the comparison with the Sarkozys.

The break-up was also in the relationship with the former and the new president, according to the images. If Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande had a cordial conservation, there was still a palpable tension between the two men who harshly fought during the presidential campaign. The talks were quite formal and cold, François Hollande having not going downstairs with Sarkozy when he left the Elysée, leaving him and his wife who joined their car, as he wanted to turn over a new leaf quickly.

France’s outgoing President Sarkozy stands next to newly-elected President Hollande on the steps of the Elysee Palace at the end of a handover ceremony.

Behaving like this, François Hollande deals “sarkozysm” and all it represented the last five years the dealth blow. Five years ago, Nicolas Sarkozy seemed to appreciate the achievement of a political ambition. In 2012, François Hollande wanted to appear as a solemn president, put forward his idea of “president normal” (ordinary man). This explains this “Pompidou” style which corresponds quite well with the personality of the new president in the context of the crisis.

In fact, and in comparison to the hyperactive Sarkozy, François Hollande wants to be peaceful, over the others. He just wants to rule and give a direction to France.

The break-up is obviously here: in the style and the content. Undoubtedly, the challenges expecting the country will be very important and the French president is aware of this. Nonetheless, his temperament and his presidential style are a kind of insurance aiming at protecting him. This strategy seems to be effective, most of French people appreciating the attitude of the new president, putting the Sarkozy leaving at middle-distance.