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I thought I would bring up the topic of a new president of France. Being in the US I am curious what the general feeling is, having Hollande about to take over with his 75% for the "rich" and the stated dislike for bankers and the finance industry. He seems to be more for the people as a socialist and the anti Sarcozy. I have already heard mention from the typical US sheelpe that France just elected a communist, people here are just clueless.
 

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My friends here are delighted to have got rid of Sarko, that's for sure. And they have a general feeling that things aren't going to change that much one way or the other, given that by and large it's the markets and the global situation that dominate over the the policies of any one politician or political party.

The real question, I think, is if austerity is a viable solution to the problems facing Europe (and by extension the world) or not. And the answer to that depends entirely on who you listen to!

At the very least it's going to be an interesting ride. And as for the folks who think Hollande's a communist, try tossing them the subject of French universal healthcare, then stand back and enjoy the show!
 

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France is a funny country, politically speaking. Sarko was voted in, based on promises for "big changes" - yet once he started making the changes, everyone got all upset and decided they hated him for being "un-French."

It remains to be seen how much of his promised "change" our new President, Mr. Hollande will manage to actually make happen. But he has a good reputation for being a consensus seeker - just not much experience getting all the folks in the legislature to "play nicely with each other."

The latest prediction I've heard is that he'll enjoy something of a honeymoon period over the summer while he gets his government in place and himself organized. But come fall, if he hasn't delivered on some of his campaign promises, we could see some pretty nasty strikes and demonstrations.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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But let's be honest, there are really only two main questions.

1. Will Carla stay with Sarko?

2. Will Valerie Trierweiler keep working as a journalist, or get a post in his administration?

Stir, stir!
 

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Oh, I've been asking no. 1 for a couple of months, now. Only time will tell.

On no. 2 there are some interesting possibilities - like maybe he'll make an honest woman of her, particularly if she doesn't have enough in assets to subject them both to the ISF! (I always thought that had to be the issue with Segolene.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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The real question

The real question is if the left is going to pander to the right regarding immigration, visas, and expat policies, because they are actually not that different than Sarcozy or Le Pen, in other words, they are not pandering at all, just being the very same?

I am hopeful Hollande's camp will show themselves slightly better than Sarcozy/Le Pen, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is totally wishful thinking on my part, having seen so many different displays of hatred and virulent hostility to foreigners/immigrants from across the French political spectrum--when they are in a situation where they are free to speak what they really think.
 

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The real question is if the left is going to pander to the right regarding immigration, visas, and expat policies, because they are actually not that different than Sarcozy or Le Pen, in other words, they are not pandering at all, just being the very same?

I am hopeful Hollande's camp will show themselves slightly better than Sarcozy/Le Pen, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is totally wishful thinking on my part, having seen so many different displays of hatred and virulent hostility to foreigners/immigrants from across the French political spectrum--when they are in a situation where they are free to speak what they really think.

You say "pander to the right regarding immigration", but nearly 20% of people voted FN this year. It may not be to mine, or most peoples tastes, but it is a large amount of the population who need to be listened to, and can no longer be written off as old, stupid, colonial-mentality etc.

From my point of view I am concerned about Hollande. For me his policies don't address the real problems here: the enormous amount of money that his being spent of welfare (55% I have just read). Everyone here seems to be taking from RSA and CAF, and there are so many perceived advantages to being unemployed here. For example here in the Provence you can obtain a travel card for use of of trains, buses to travel anywhere within the region for 90%, off is you receive RSA and are registered with Pole emploi. How is that fair? One of his policies is actually to INCREASE welfare payments at the start of school year! Surely that encourages people to be less socially responsible by having larger families, paid for by the state?

I am now working a full time job and have not claimed any government money since I have been here, because don't feel I deserve it until I have paid into the system. And yet I feel resentful of the massive taxes I pay now, as I feel I'm paying to subsidise other peoples lifestyles. What Hollande really needs to be doing, as well as creating jobs is giving people a greater incentive to work, rather than an incentive to abuse the system. I shouldn't be feeling resentful right now for working hard and paying my taxes /social security etc, like a responsible citizen should, but I am.
 
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As long as my local boulangerie stays open and I can still go get my daily french baked croissant ou pain-au-chocolat.... and all the other yummy french food....I don't really care what Hollande does....

Politicians in france don't make any difference...the country has a strong culture and history which keeps it running on it's own....Paris will always be Paris...this country has been around for centuries...and survived through everything...it will go on the same way....besides the reason I like it here is because many of the things in France are still done the same way they were done a 1000 years ago so if so many Presidents couldn't make a change the I doubt this one can do anything....French won't change...they are French and will remain French forever...
 

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When Mitterand was elected in 1981 everyone thought that France was going to swing far to the left and become a satellite of the Soviet Union - France didn't, far from it - France has remained la France éternele and, hopefully, will remain so. The Soviet Union has disappeared !!!

Like your comments Moving2France however I do care what Hollande does.

Hollande is far from being a communist - you will observe this in the future - I did once see in a US newspaper Obama being called a "Socialist" !

I voted Hollande last Sunday and have voted for the socialist party since voting for the first time in France in 1981 after taking French nationality - Worried for the future ? of course, but I'd be even more worried if I was resident in the UK at the moment !!!

The elections in June are going to be very important, Hollande's marge de manoeuvre will depend on his majority which at the moment is an unknown factor.

To compare the political scene between France and the UK is already very difficult, between the US and France even more - but what I do want to protect is our marvellous social system for which many French people fought for - what's happened to the social system that I knew in the UK ???

As Bev said after the honeymoon period there will no doubt be strikes etc in the next 5 years in France and so what - at least we still have that right !

Yes, France is a funny country but it grows on you and you love and get addicted to it.

As for Sarkozy, the article in the Nouvel Observateur sums it up perfectly :

Sarkozy, l?homme qui n?a jamais fait président - Le Nouvel Observateur
 

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Disregard any comments in the American press that involve the word "socialist" - most Americans still living over there have no idea what the word means.

One thing I have noticed is that Hollande never made any promises to dismantle the positive (IMO) changes that Sarkozy did manage to get through: minimum service during public service strikes, the modifications to the 35 hour work week that make things quite a bit more flexible, and even the increase in retirement age is only going to be modified for those who started working early in life (which seems only reasonable).

At least so far, I have faith that the Republic can and will survive and I'm definitely willing to give Hollande a chance to prove himself. Change comes slowly to France, but I think he knows that already.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hear, hear to all the above.

I didn't have any particular problem with Sarko (I think Merkel & Germany may be the biggest threat to the EU), and now we have Hollande, well we'll see.

I actually think it doesn't really matter who is "in power" 'cos so much is influenced by global, and closer to home, EU, conditions, so their hands are tied. Yes, the internal budget can be apportioned according to the whim of (& the advice given to) the present incumbent, but, in general, historically, if the "peuple" don't like it, they will show it. This really is what I like about the RF - compared to the UK, for example, but there is a strange dichotomy that, locally, even the most intelligent people will bow to the "better knowledge" of someone like a schoolteacher, but they will go out on the streets opposing the "better knowledge" of their politicians. Strange .....

As a spectator, with no vote anywhere on this planet, it's all hugely entertaining, but I can't do much about it. And if the situation in France becomes intolerable or untenable for us, there are x hundred more countries to consider emigrating to - once an expat, always an expat :)

Hils
 

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Sorry for the tangent but I'm curious what his policies will mean in relation to foreigners looking to live or work in France - will he make it harder, easier, no change? Socialism should make immigration a bit easier shouldn't it? I'm about to have a follow up job interview with a company for a job over there and I'm just hoping nothing major has changed/ will change in the near future that may affect my chances.
 

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Sorry for the tangent but I'm curious what his policies will mean in relation to foreigners looking to live or work in France - will he make it harder, easier, no change? Socialism should make immigration a bit easier shouldn't it? I'm about to have a follow up job interview with a company for a job over there and I'm just hoping nothing major has changed/ will change in the near future that may affect my chances.
Hollande didn't campaign on any particular "foreigner" issues and I doubt they have any big plans in mind in that area. What could, however, throw a monkey wrench into things is the result of the legislative elections in early June. Both the Front National and the Front de Gauche are big on furthering the interests of the working classes, which tends to favor some sort of limit on immigration. Nothing overt just yet, but after the elections we'll see how the Assemblée stacks up.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Thanks for that explanation Bevdeforges, it's very reassuring. Hopefully everything will already be in progress before the legislative elections come up, and any changes will be too late to get in the way.
 

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President Hollander

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
Charles De Gaulle
French general & politician (1890 - 1970) *
 

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I don't have anything meaningful to add to this the thread, but I am just fascinated by politics and am still trying to find out where I stand as far as France is concerned.

In the US I am decidedly a liberal, but when living in London I realized (to my initial horror) that I was actually a conservative in terms of the UK. All of my French friends here are die hard conservatives-but not in the LePen sense- (which also is a bit disorienting for me) but I really think it is a semantics issue. I just need to get over the terms "liberal" and "conservative" because they have vastly different degrees of interpretation depending on the country in which you live. I am looking forward to seeing where I fit in politically. Right now, I'm just watching and waiting. :D
 

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I think if you look back, I dont think people dislike Sarkozy for his policies (well the people that voted for him at least) economic or otherwise. They disliked him for his distaful attitude, his awkward and sometime way too strong stands against immigration and just simply for the "nouveau riche" attitude. A lot of people actually liked the change (what you see on tv, about strikes, etc..) never represents the whole picture in france (as everywhere else).
As far as Hollande, I was surprised to see a lot of my friends, in their early thirties, historically left wing, to be so strongly against him. They saw the danger in too much of his policies. That was very surprising change over the last election were they could not bear the though of sarkozy being elected. Now, it seems like most are hoping that Hollande will appease the strong divide created by sarkozy, and not actually be able to do much of what he said he would do given the current situation.
On the note of françois mitterand, a lot of french will tell you that major economical conservative policies were often voted on when a socialist president was in office disguised as something else. Le'ts just hope he will not raise benefits for too many people and bankrupt the country. As a newcomer to my own country, I am shocked at what the government is not only making available to me, but also freely pushing me to apply for. Sending me letters about this , that and this I can get and should apply for.. That is a little crazy. A middle point would be nice.
 

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We're off back to the US, and won't become residents in France until things have become a bit clearer. We had no problem that we would be paying more tax if we decided to live in France - but only up to a certain point. Now with the quasi-1789 rhetoric about punishing higher earners, and the sense that no-one's willing to tackle the pachyderm-in-the-room problems of French industrial competivity, rising social costs, and the euro mess... well, I'm not ready to gamble.

Just as well two center living is fun!
 
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