France looks set to turn left a little, with most predicting a Socialist victory in the coming Presidential election. I say a little because the French Socialist party isn’t really all that socialist anymore after making a conscious decision to turn away from calling itself the party of the workers and becoming more like the liberal base of the US Democrat Party.
New polls published yesterday suggested that Mr Hollande, 57, was leading the field of 10 candidates in the first round with up to 29 per cent of the vote. He had extended his lead over Mr Sarkozy to between two and four points. In voting intentions for the two-candidate, second round on 6 May, Mr Hollande now leads the President by a “landslide” margin of 14 to 16 per cent.
In a series of damning, private remarks, reported by the Le Canard EnchainÃ© newspaper, senior members of President Sarkozy’s government said that defeat now seemed inevitable.
“The carrots are cooked,” the Prime Minister, FranÃ§ois Fillon, was quoted as saying. “[Sarkozy's] strategy of campaigning on hard-right issues was a serious mistake.” The former centre-right prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, was reported to have said privately: “There is no chance of us winning.”
The bigger story of the election really is that the French hard-right seems to have a core constituency that it cannot grow beyond a certain number while the coalition to the left of the Socialists, the Left Front, has seen its support grow to around parity with the hard-right from essentially nowhere. Skyrocketing income inequality and austerity budgets as globalized capitalism failed to cope with the economic crisis along with a newly-remembered aversion to foreign adventurism have fuelled that rise, which I expect to see mirrored in other European nations in one of the continent’s long-period political swings.