government

France: a government in disarray

France— Analysis

The Socialist Party candidate was eliminated in the first round of a parliamentary by-election, the president is at historic lows in the opinion polls and government is weak. At the same time President Hollande is confusing his message and his priorities. All this adds up, says Mediapart editor François Bonnet, to a looming major crisis between the government and its voters on the Left.

Hollande and Ayrault, a delicate balancing act between two 'Mr Normals'

France— Analysis

The five years of the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy were hallmarked by his unprecedented involvement in the day-to-day running of government, from policy announcements to public appearances, leaving his prime minister, François Fillon, in a backstage role. It became dubbed as the ‘hyper presidency’, a dramatic change from that of his predecessors, who perceived their role as a more lofty, behind-the-scenes management of the major affairs of state while their prime ministers were placed at the political frontline. The arrival of François Hollande, self-styled as ‘Mr Normal’, is expected to herald an abrupt rupture with Sarkozy’s media-conscious and agitated presidential style.  But just what will be the power balance in his relationship with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, a longstanding friend and political ally? Stéphane Alliès reports.