Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

France tolerant no more

Less than in two years Francois Hollande has wasted the potential for trust given him by the voters. According to a poll, if the election was held today, only nine percent of the French would vote for him. Leading in popularity is Interior Minister Manuel Valls famous for sounding the alarm about the Africanization of France and deporting Romas.

The poll was conducted by the HarrisInteractive Institute for Le Figaro Magazine. The question was worded as follows: Which candidate from the Socialist Party (PS) you would like to see as President in 2017 elections? 33 percent of French people would like to see Valls the President, while Francois Hollande was chosen by only nine percent of those polled. The most unexpected result of the poll is that 80 percent of the French are confident that the next presidential election will be won by a right wing candidate.

The left-wing has a chance for success only if Valls is the one who runs (54 percent would support his candidacy). For the first time since 1974, the President-elect is losing popularity so quickly that his unfitness as a candidate for the second consecutive term became apparent so early, LeFigaro wrote. The President is losing the respect not only of the people, but also his party. Even among supporters of PS, Hollande's leadership causes serious doubts (37 percent versus 24 percent for Valls).

LeFigaro wrote that the first secretary of the party Arles Desir interrupted Hollande's speech on high-profile case of the deportation of Roma family Dibrani from Kosovo twice, and was booed at a meeting of PS supporters in Marseille after a candidate of the Socialists has lost the local elections. The newspaper quoted a French politician Charles Talleyrand who said that he was more afraid of the army of sheep led by a lion than an army of lions led by sheep. The French have the impression that authorities are nonexistent.

In addition to personal traits, the President of France also loses points in the economic performance of the country, despite the fact that this is something Hollande always talks about and this is why he won the election. He is not fulfilling his promises. France broke the record in terms of the number of unemployed - 3.5 million people (11 percent of the working population). In September alone the army of the unemployed was joined by another 60,000 French, the highest growth since early 2009. The national debt continues to rise and has reached 93.4 percent of GDP at the end of the second quarter of this year. A distinctive feature of the budget for 2014 submitted by the Government is one of the world's highest taxes.

In particular, the value added tax in the new budget is increased to the maximum possible value - 20 percent. The budget also includes an increase of income tax on wealthy French with the annual income in excess of 1 million EUR to 75 percent. The tax will not be paid by citizens but the companies that employ them. Will they do it or will they run away under another jurisdiction, as Depardieu did? To reduce the deficit, the budget provides for a reduction in spending by 15 billion euros. Mainly this will be done through the reduction of social benefits and pensions. Back in August Hollande promised to take a "fiscal pause," but has not fulfilled the promise. According to the forecasts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the growth of the French economy in 2014 will be only 0.8 percent.

Hollande is solving some insignificant problems. For example, the President approved a law allowing same-sex marriages and adoption of children by homosexuals. He could not renounce the sacred principles of democracy and tolerance. His interior minister Manuel Valls contrasts favorably with him in this regard.  A French official said that he "supported Hollande as a rope supported a hanged man." Valls recently stated the need to review the country's migration policy against Africans and questioned the compatibility of Islam and democracy. He also said that the Roma will never be able to merge into the French society and promised to pursue a policy of mass deportation. Several colleagues of Valls on condition of anonymity told the newspaper LeParisien that the Minister presented "a real political problem."

However, the President does not see it. He tries to reconcile the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, writes a letter to 15 year-old Leonarda Dibrani with an invitation to return to France (but without the parents), and then argues that France would oppose the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen zone. Meanwhile, the majority of the French people support Valls' tough stance (74 percent) in the case of Leonarda. Meanwhile, 65 percent of respondents said they opposed the return of Leonarda to the country, LeParisien wrote.

Extreme political weakness of Francois Hollande means a chance of coming to power of a new tough politician in 2017 who will address the real, not contrived problems of the French society. Will Valls dare to challenge Hollande? The alternative is the rise to power of the right, and not moderate Gaullists, but Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front that according to a recent survey by LeNouvel Observateur is leading among the French right-wing parties. 33 percent of the French were in favor of her playing an important political role in the life of France. Her party is predicted victory among the right-wing parties in the upcoming regional and European elections in 2014. 2017 is only a stone's throw away.

Lyuba Lulko


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