Un Nouveau Presdient

I wouldn’t be a good French wanna-be if I didn’t write about the biggest French news from the weekend: Elections!

After five years in office, Nicolas Sarkozy will not return to office for a second term. Socialist Francois Hollande will be sworn into office today after winning 50.8 percent of the votes.  It seems opinions are varied although it is noticeable that the young adults are excited for the first Left wing leader since 1995.  Hollande plans to implement higher taxes for the rich and lower the retirement age.  He also has a platform to decrease France’s high dependence on nuclear energy. 

Like America’s primary elections, France uses a two-round system.  Unlike America, France uses direct voting whereas we use indirect voting in the form of an electoral college.  Another difference between our two countries is the date.  In the US elections are held on Tuesdays in November but in France, Sunday is election day.  Campaigning ends at midnight the Friday before and ballots are cast beginning at 8am on Election day.  This excludes French Guiana, Martinique and Guadeloupe who hold elections on that Saturday.  With the time difference, these countries would be deterred to even cast a ballot since results are released Sunday at 8pm in France. 

I am no political guru but I am interested to learn more about this new president and reactions from the public.  I am also spurred to get my act together about all things “presidential election” since this year I am actually home (not in college in VA and not in Europe) to vote!

But for now, a bit about French political leaders.  I recently read this article in Vogue magazine.  It intrigued me to read about the trend of relationships budding between journalists and politicians.  Hollande was one such spotlight in the article as both his ex and his current partner are both active in politics. 

Hollande’s current partner, Valérie Trierweiler, is a journalist who formerly covered the Socialist Party.  His ex, Ségolène Royal, is a French politician herself.  In fact, Royal ran as the Socialist candidate against Sarkozy in 2007.  After her defeat, the two (Hollande and Royal) split and Hollande has since been linked with Trierweiler.  Of course, as the Vogue article explains in-depth, mixing journalist and politician can be tricky.  If not for the blurred lines created between what is personal and professional (I did mention that she covered the exact party her partner ran for), then for the lack of privacy that comes with celebrated persons.  As a result of all of these gray areas, Trierweiler has been removed from covering politics all together and was even blind-sided by Paris Match (where she is on the masthead) when they ran photos and a story about her relations with Hollande.

Oh the murky waters of politics…

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