France Analysis

François Hollande the geostationary president

As leader of the Socialist Party François Hollande was noted for his talent in blending opposites, for taking the ideas of rival factions and combining them into a compromise deal. But now, as leader of the country, is he in danger of becoming the president of paralysing contradictions? In a powerful critique of President Hollande's time in office so far, academic, author and Mediapart contributor Christian Salmon says that the government’s regular rows and blunders cannot just be put down to inexperience, and argues that the president has effectively surrendered to a neo-liberal agenda.

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Having been, when he was at the head of the Socialist Party, a skillful blender of opposing ideas, is François Hollande now becoming the president of paralysing contradictions? Since his election in May 2012 the chronicle of cock-ups, internal battles and other inter-ministerial spats that have punctuated the daily life of the government cannot just be put down to an administration learning the ropes of power, to public relations errors or a lack of synchronisation of the government’s agenda.

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