Hollande's 'Dijon syndrome': the telling reasons behind the French president’s style of government


A year ago on 6th May 2012 François Hollande won the French presidential election and took office nine days later. Having won the election partly because of his 'Mr Normal' image, the president’s method of governing the country has since attracted heavy criticism from all quarters, including from inside his own party. To mark the anniversary of Hollande's victory Stéphane Alliès analyses the powerful influences that have shaped the president’s approach to power and finds that they can be traced back to the day he was voted in as Socialist Party boss at Dijon a decade ago.

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A year ago on 6th May 2012 he won the battle for the Elysée. Ten years ago he became the unchallenged boss of the Socialist Party. And ever since François Hollande became president of France, the refrain from many socialists has been the same. “Hollande runs the country like he ran the party,” they sigh sadly. Indeed, the similarities between Hollande as head of state and Hollande as party boss are frequently invoked by party members in any analysis of the president’s first period in office.