Francois Hollande, fresh off of his victory over former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, declared during the campaign that the ‘world of finance’ is his enemy and now he has a chance to make good on his promises to dilute the power of the financial sector in French politics. Among his proposals include increasing taxes on the rich, freezing fuel prices, increasing welfare payments, and hiring new teachers.
Hollande, a career technocrat who has never held national office until being elected French president, has worked in the cabinet of Francois Mitterand as well as serving as the Secretary General of the French Socialist Party for 11 years. Succeeding Dominique Strauss-Kahn as the Socialist Party’s nominee following Strauss-Kahn’s fall after the Manhattan sexual harassment scandal, Hollande is a wildcard in terms of his political policies because he was thrust so unexpectedly into the spotlight.
His claims about the world of finance raised fears in the financial community but he has assured the international community that he is no radical. Rather than engaging in a campaign of nationalization and buffering the welfare state, as some other nations have done, Hollande wants France to re-examine the monetary union and the agreements binding the states in the euro together. Additionally, he wants economic policies to focus more on growth instead of austerity.
Nicolas Sarkozy, one of the most pro-American French presidents in decades, advanced policies that Hollande is expected to largely continue but not without some re-examination of French commitments in Afghanistan and its relationship with Israel.