Monday, May 7, 2012

Montebourg's Got Rhythm

Is Arnaud Montebourg out to become the Nadine Morano of the PS? The party animal the other party can mock? In any case, he was rocking out at Bastille last night:

Montebourg "on fire" au coin VIP du PS à Bastille by rue89br />

Juppé Calls for UMP Primaries

Alain Juppé, who will not compete in the legislative elections, has called for the UMP to hold a primary to choose its next presidential candidate. "We mocked the Socialists a bit," he admits, "but we see that it was a good operation for them." It also will not have escaped Juppé's notice that the primary allowed a challenger to defeat the party leader to win the nomination. The primary system breaks the party leader's lock on the internal apparatus, and since one of Juppé's chief rivals now holds that lock, he has all the more reason to look to the primary.

Hollande: A Lucid Interview

François Hollande is quite lucid about the challenges he faces. In this interview, he expresses himself with clarity and grace. Let's hope that now that he is liberated from the constraints of campaigning, he will continue to demonstrate the grasp of issues that he demonstrates here. Note, in particular, his discussion of stimulus. He seems to be pinning his hopes on a European Investment Bank that will channel funds to productive investments rather than directly to end consumers--a combination of industrial policy and demand stimulus. This concept raises many challenges and difficulties, but it's a concrete proposal in the right direction.

Hollande Favors Eurobonds or Change in ECB Policy

At last, a concrete statement from François Hollande regarding his intentions for resolving the euro crisis. He rightly notes that Germany must agree either to finance the issue of eurobonds or else allow the ECB to purchase sovereign debt outright rather than resort to subterfuges such as the LTRO:

Le président élu souhaite pousser l'Allemagne à choisir entre deux solutions pour adoucir la politique de rigueur qu'elle promeut dans l'Union depuis 2008. Il s'agirait de "lever l'emprunt" au niveau européen en créant des obligations européennes, dites "eurobonds" ou "project-bonds", ou d'autoriser le refinancement direct des Etats par la Banque centrale européenne (BCE). "Ils ne peuvent pas poser deux verrous à la fois, un sur les 'eurobonds' et un autre sur le refinancement direct des dettes par la BCE," précise M. Hollande.
The gauntlet has now been thrown down before Germany, and we will see how Germany responds. To judge from this morning's announcement that there will be no renegotiation of the Merkozy pact, the answer will be "Nein," but that is only the starting point of the conversation.

A Remarkable Coincidence

Hollande and Mitterrand were elected with almost identical scores:
Il a si bien réussi à "faire" François Mitterrand qu'il a reproduit, à quelques dixièmes de point près, le score du premier socialiste à avoir réussi à se faire élire président de la République sous la Ve République. Il est devenu le second en obtenant 51,68 % des suffrages exprimés, alors que François Mitterrand en avait totalisé 51,76 %, dans un contexte de participation sensiblement plus élevé : près de 86 % des électeurs inscrits s'étaient déplacés, le 10 mai 1981, pour départager François Mitterrand et Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, tandis qu'ils n'ont été que 81,03 % à le faire, dimanche, pour choisir entre M. Hollande et M. Sarkozy.

The Legislative Elections

Will the left win the June legislative elections? It's by no means certain, despite the French dislike of cohabitation and the logic of the constitutional reform and presidential system. Hollande's margin of victory was narrow, and, as noted in a previous post, his victory depended on the strength of anti-Sarkozy sentiment. The rejection was personal and not necessarily political, and the poor report des voix among MoDem and Le Pen voters to the Socialists suggests that the Left may have a hard time putting its candidates across in some districts. In addition, Mélenchon will now be an adversary rather than an objective ally of the Socialists. What an absurd irony it would be if the French turned out their unpopular energumen only to hamstring his hapless successor.

MoDem did not go for Hollande

Dans quels électorats est allé puiser M. Hollande pour construire sa victoire ? Sans surprise, une très forte proportion des électeurs de Jean-Luc Mélenchon (81 %) a voté pour lui. En revanche, le candidat socialiste n'a guère convaincu les partisans de François Bayrou, en dépit du vote personnel du président du MoDem en sa faveur : 29 % ont voté pour lui, certes, mais 41 % ont préféré M. Sarkozy, tandis que 30 % se sont abstenus ou ont voté blanc ou nul.
I thought he would get more of Mélenchon's voters as well as more of Bayrou's. So how did he win? Apparently, the key reason cited by most people who supported Hollande was to "stop Sarkozy." So this really was an anti-Sarkozy vote.

Hollande also got only 14% of Le Pen's vote, according to this same survey. These very poor reports des voix really make the Hollande victory a puzzle. The numbers don't seem to add up, but it's only 5 in the morning here in California, so perhaps I'm a bit groggy.

Sociology of the Vote

Hollande won in all age groups except 60+ and all socioprofessional groups except "commerçants, artisans, chefs d'entreprise," a heterogeneous grouping if ever there was one, and "retirees," which presumably overlaps the 60+ group. And he did equally well with men and women.

The Troubles Begin

François Hollande will have no état de grâce. He hasn't even taken office yet, and Germany has already refused to renegotiate the fiscal pact, aka the Merkozy agreement. We will soon discover what kind of leader Hollande intends to be.

L'Allemagne refuse de renégocier le pacte européen de discipline budgétaire

Il n'est "pas possible de renégocier le pacte budgétaire" européen, qui a déjà été "signé par 25 des 27 Etats membres de l'Union", a affirmé lundi 7 mai le porte-parole de la chancelière allemande, Angela Merkel. François Hollande veut adjoindre à ce pacte un volet sur la croissance. (Source : AFP, Reuters)