Socialism Not All It's Cracked Up To Be Makes Hollande Most Unpopular President In 32 Years

While the people of France voted for a wealth distributing tax-the-rich Socialist President, it appears Francois Hollande is not living up to his electorate's hope for change as his policies are increasingly seen as simply more of the same as Sarkozy - “often the line is very fine between the two but Hollande must maintain the idea that he is more left wing.” Hollande’s popularity fell in February, leaving him the most unpopular French leader since 1981, a TNS-Sofres poll showed. More than two-thirds of the French and 44% of those who voted for him say they’re disappointed with him. It seems Socialism is not all it's cracked up to be as "the [European] obligation to cut deficits and spending and make reforms... exactly what Sarkozy had to deal with... annuls all measures Hollande wants to impose to boost jobs and growth." Hollande has restated his promise to reverse the unemployment trend and chanted his three mantras "constancy, endurance and hope," but, as Bloomberg notes, the last five opinion surveys have been disastrous for the self-proclaimed 'normal' president but have no fear as the 'old fuddy-duddy' is going back to the people in a charm offensive.

It seems 'we the people' of France are as unhappy as the Italians...

 

Via Bloomberg,

President Francois Hollande, the most-unpopular French leader in more than 30 years, is struggling to show supporters he’s not dipping into predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s playbook to reverse an economic slump.

 

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“Often the line is very fine between the two but Hollande must maintain the idea that he is more left wing,” said Eric Bonnet, a political opinion analyst at BVA polling institute in Paris. “The big challenge for Hollande is to give his supporters the feeling that what he does is different from Sarkozy, to reassure them on his policies.”

 

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His wings are clipped,” said Mathieu Plane, an economist at research institute OFCE in Paris. “As long as he must comply with very tough austerity measures, as long the economy is not expanding to give him some leeway on state measures, his margin for maneuver is minimal.”

 

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With no immediate hope for an economic recovery, Hollande’s program for 2013 is looking very similar to his predecessor’s, infuriating his political allies and supporters.

 

Hollande’s popularity fell in February, leaving him the most unpopular French leader since 1981, a TNS-Sofres poll showed. More than two-thirds of the French and 44 percent of those who voted for him in the second and decisive round of the May election say they’re disappointed with him, according to a BVA poll in Le Parisien on March 3.

 

Worse, a majority -- or 51 percent -- of the respondents in the BVA survey said Sarkozy would have done a better job in fighting the crisis and the morosity gripping France.

 

The survey showed that 54 percent of the respondents believe Hollande isn’t doing enough to change France and most say he won’t fulfill his promise to reverse the trend of rising unemployment by the end of the year or make enough reforms to stabilize the country.

 

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Still, with the European Commission breathing down his neck on fiscal discipline, Hollande needs to make a series of unpopular overhauls, including reshaping the overextended pensions system, cutting public spending and pushing through more-flexible labor rules.

 

His pledge to cut the budget deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product this year has already been ruled unattainable by the commission. His efforts are also aimed at sending reassuring messages across the Rhine to Chancellor Merkel who has pushed for austerity over Hollande’s electoral campaign promise of growth policies.

 

“The European factor -- the obligation to cut deficits and spending and make reforms -- is exactly what Sarkozy had to deal with,” OFCE’s Plane said. “It annuls all measures Hollande wants to impose to boost jobs and growth.”

 

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To appease an increasingly irritated population ahead of a late March television presentation of his strategy for rekindling growth and employment, Hollande launched this week a new agenda item: regular visits to “real France” with a sleepover in the nearest small town.

 

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