Sunday, May 06, 2007

And this is our new president... by Thomas

I will say I am not totally unhappy he won. Not that his personality attracts me, or that I think that he has the feet big enough for the shoes of president, but he definitelly has more the charisma and competence to be president than his opponent.

But rather than discussing the president, I would like to discuss about what I think happened to the socialist party and what should be the next step. (not that I hold the universal truth on the subject, yet I have my opinion)

I knew since Royal has been elected as the socialist candidate she was going to lose, it was so obvious that I do not get that no one voting for her saw it coming. She won against DSK, the social-democrat, and Fabius, the new-born leftist, by attacking them over and over again, yet not really proposing anything.

Anyway, today the socialist party(PS) lost for many reasons

  • THE PS DID NOT DO ITS HOMEWORK: After the defeat of 2002, the PS had 5 years to really think about its future and the direction it wanted to take. Instead they just opposed during 5 years every decision from the gouvernments without bringing any proposals. Then she got elected on nothing, and started doing her participative assemblies... mmm what has been done during 5 years???
  • THEY FOCUSED ON THE "VOTE AGAINST" RATHER THAN "VOTE FOR": Because no real policies were thought through (remember the debate? her magic answer wasfor every question, we will negociate with the syndicates), they adopted the strategy of the TSS - in english everything but Sarkozy. As I mentioned in a previous post, rather than convincing people to embrace their project (which they didnt really have) they focussed on making everyone believe their opponent was the new Adolf Hitler. French can at times be uneducated, but they are not that stupid.
  • PROMISES OF FUTURE WITH SOLUTIONS OF THE PAST: this is a critical point that really killed them. THere is this idea in France of "Left". It is a nice word, but the problem is that the ideology behind it is from another time. Unlike most socialist parties in Europe who actually know success, our glorious PS still believes that the future is with the trotskists and other communists. They failed to see the aspiration of the people to the social-democracy (just look European countries) and let this big idea available to Francois Bayrou who, let it be remembered, was politically dead after 2002. They could have listened to DSK... Anyway, utlimately, a lot of people who do want some social in politics dont and cannot recognize themselves in policies influenced by archaic communism.
  • PRESIDENT IS NOT MINISTER: I really have nothing against segolene royal being a woman far from it, but more than a statut, the presidency in France in an Institution that represent Power, and the idea of international influence. The President represents France, the President IS France. Everyone who tell you, a president is elected for his personality not his program or party - it is all about charisma, and perceived competence. Some may argue the point I will be bringing next but unfortunatelly they are facts. Let's first take the PS itself - 3 candidates at first, Fabius, former prime minister and minister of finance; DSK, highly estimated in Europe, former finance minister, finally Segolene Royal, former vice-minister of education, family and childhood ( I will let aside the ministry of ecology) whose minister said she was incompetant. On the other side, Nicolas Sarkozy, you may not like the man, but he is the president of the first party in france, and was former minister of finance and minister of interior. She may appear as someone fresh bringing some youth or whatever, but I am sure that ultimately her lack of important function, if was able to on short term impress the socialist partisant, on the long term did not help her. She proved, in my opinion during the debate, that she was not ready yet for such a big commitment.

And there we are on this 6th of May... She promises to continue the fight, but I would ask her what fight, and with which allies? I do think that Sarkozy was the best choice for a president (out of all the contestant), but it is important to now put some checks to his power - This will be tough since French love to have a strong president, and in my opinion will not be possible with a PS the way it is, and with its ideas developped during this campaign.

I may be wrong but the important question that the PS has to ask itself is what its ideology itself will be, and what direction it wants to take. On one side Fabius pushing the PS to the left, a DSK thinking that the social-democracy is what will save the PS, and in the middle, Hollande and his defeated "wife" wanting to get more on the left and the center at the same time. My opinion is simple, either the PS listens to DSK, which it did not so far, and there will be a scission within the PS between the ones wanting to stay on the extreme left, and the ones more prone to discuss with the center and Bayrou., or they go more on the left to resuscitate the "plural Left" and it will be to me the clinic death of the PS as most of its most brilliant elements will join force with the new created democrat mouvement. The position of Hollande is just not possible as even if they have common points, the economic view of the MD and communists is way too different. Social democracy, as it happens in most European countries, appears to be the best solution. The liberal forces of the PS associated with the MD would shift the center of gravity of French politics more on the right, yet would allow to combine the best of what can be done on the right with the best that can be done on the left. DSK already talking about major reorganisation and other socialists like Rocard or Krouchner already calling for alliance with the center - the next month, till the elections, will be very interesting.

As I said, all I wrote is nothing but personal opinion...



At May 08, 2007, Anonymous Alison said...

I appreciate knowing your opinion. Thank you for sharing it!

At May 11, 2007, Anonymous tongue in cheek said...

And now time will tell its story. I hope France strives with the new President,and continues to be a beautiful place to live.


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