French politics

100 minutes to convince

French president François Hollande during the show on TF1.

French president François Hollande during the show on TF1.

On yesterday night, I watched François Hollande explaining his strategy and policy in the occasion of a special TV show on the TF1 private channel and also broadcast on the RTL commercial radio.

During one hour and half, the French president discussed with journalists, experts and citizens about the outcome of his reforms at mid-term, in the purpose to be convincing vis-à-vis French people, despites a 13% very low approval rate.

François Hollande was very expected by most of French citizens, some of them have still doubt about his strategy or even hostility. After a political sequence dominated by the Parti socialiste’s huge defeat in the municipal and European elections and the continuous rise of Marine Le Pen, the French leader wanted to take the initiative and draw a new direction for the second half of his mandate.

Although Hollande did not announce new important measures, I found him combative and determined. Authentic, he admitted he made some mistakes regarding some aspects of his policy as the unemployment curb he promised to turn down at the end of 2013. Faced with a difficult situation, the French leader wanted to appear as someone still confident on his country and the strategy he is leading to reform and put France on its tracks.

Hollande was watched by near 8 million French people yesterday night that shows some citizens had a real interest for his intervention. Nonetheless, explaining his policy and doing his mea culpa won’t be enough to convince and re-conquest the Frenchs and especially people who voted for Hollande two years and half ago. Even if, he clearly assumes his economic and social strategy to recover France, he is aware he needs concrete results to ensure French people, and give them confidence back.

Because, in spite of some important reforms as the energetic transition bill recently, French citizens are still concerned by the increasing of unemployment and seems to consider the government led by Hollande and Valls cannot do anything. Marine Le Pen enjoys the situation and also the fact the message sent by the executive is not always understood because blurred by some socialist representatives (named the “Frondeurs” (insurgents)), tackling the Manuel Valls’ measures.

François Hollande and his Prime minister, Manuel Valls

François Hollande and his Prime minister, Manuel Valls

The following weeks and months will be probably very important for the French president insofar as he needs to be very clear about his policy which supposes to emit a clear and single message to Frenchs. François Hollande should also take some risks and assume it. By confirming he will not stand for 2017 if unemployment rate is not down, Hollande believes the strategy is still the most suitable to create a maximum of jobs in France. At last, the French president will have to reaffirm himself as the leader of the ruling majority, which also supposes having a deep and clear discussion with his allies, especially the Greens and the PRG (Parti radical de gauche, Left republicans) who kept criticizing François Hollande’s policy (and even personality) on the previous month.

In other words, François Hollande just kicked off his mandate-second-sequence yesterday night!