I havent followed the French election campaign as closely as I wanted, unfortunately. Following the political situation in Greece leaves me unable to get into details on any other issue. From the little I have seen, the deeply conservative European Union (EU) might have a chance to start changing if and only if French President Nicolas Sarkozy would step down come April 29th.
Sarkozy played a very important role in bringing Europe through the mire its in now. Since the beginning of his term he was always travelling all over the world, as if it was a lot easier for him to pretend solving everybody elses problems rather than dealing with his own countrys. Marrying Carla Bruni was his only attempt to remain popular in France.
Despite his new marriage for the sake of popularity, he then fell in love, politically this time, with Germany. This alliance has suffocated relationships with the rest of the EU countries. It is not a coincidence that the social destruction and economic crisis of the P.I.I.G.S. (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and of course Spain) came partly due to how the 2 biggest Eurozone economies dealt with them: Domination, Insolence, Inexperience, Greed, Shortsightedness (D.I.I.G.S). The conservative European countries decided to support the banking system by providing it with tax payer money, instead of deciding to support its people. The puppets of the markets did a great job in reducing the living standards of their population. Sarko might say during his campaign that he saved the Euro, but in reality his leadership, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkels, is to blame for many of the symptoms of Europes crisis.
On the internal front, the French economy is in its worst condition since World War II; unemployment and unhappiness rising every day like the sun in the done in the South of the country. Problems have only grown bigger since 2007. Pensions and working conditions have worsened in the last five years while prices are only going up. I struggle to recall any major issue or reform that Sarko has implemented in France which has changed the life of the people towards betterment. Without investigative research I struggle to find even one memory of a unique, i.e. new proposal from a person that the media refer to as highly intelligent.
On the other hand, the Socialist Presidential candidate Francois Hollande says he belongs to the Left and that he wants to bring back social justice. If I compare him with other Socialist leaders in European countries, of the not so long ago past, (Tony Blair in the UK, Jose Luis Zapatero in Spain, or George Papandreou in Greece) its unlikely he will do much. He just uses a rhetoric that the people like to hear, in comparison to the arrogance of Sarkozy.
Hollande says he wants more just tax laws and a reform of the banking system. Surely we have heard this before from other leaders, but he gets a thumbs up from me since Merkel, as well as the bankers do not like him at all
The fact is, that I dont see how, if Hollande wins the French second round, this can change huge issues like the EU bureaucracy, the one-way street of Merkozy and European Central Bank (ECB) in the economy, all by himself in a Europe without any allies. Further, I cannot foresee what route he could possibly take to fight so many growing internal issues: unemployment, poverty, credit rating problems, immigration and crime. What are his goals, what are his policies, what is his ideology, his plan for the future?
Lastly the left wing candidate Melenchon looks like he can bring some sort of hope. He believes in a different approach to resolve the issues that concern the French people, as well as a different approach to Europe. He supported the pensions two years ago, and left the Socialist party a few years earlier as he understood its political contradictions. Only yesterday (Thursday night in Paris) he said: We will tell all those who are used to tightening their belt […] we will tell them it is useless, because our Greek brothers did tighten their belts. They sold everything and they lost everything. In the end, they did not get anything in return, absolutely nothing. We must resist!
I dont believe that Melenchon could get to the 2nd round next week, which means that his voters will then probably support Hollande, an inevitable choice for the French left wingers Recent polls suggest that more than 80% of Melenchon supporters say they would vote for the Socialist candidate in Round 2. Of course Sarkozy would take the Far Right voters in the 2nd round as well, but I dont want to talk more about the xenophobic supporters in France in this article as I am wasting my time and energy on small minded people.
My thought and proposal is for the French to vote for Melenchon in Round 1 this Sunday. If I was French this is what I would do. He could be the only factor that could change France for good. And even if he doesnt get elected, a very high percentage in the elections could be a message to all Europe that the Left is present in this crisis, ready to play a big role and resist neo-liberal ideology. As for the 2nd round We shall see next week.