Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hollande Is Out. What Now?

As I predicted in my previous post, François Hollande announced today that he will not be a candidate for his own succession. In a televised speech, he defended his bilan except for la déchéance de nationalité, which he recognized as a serious (and costly) error. He said that throughout his presidency, which one might describe as a calvary, he retained his lucidity, and he correctly concluded that his presence in the race would divide the left and pave the way for its elimination in the first round of the presidential election.

His face told the story even before he reached its dénouement. He was a man in pain, announcing his failure, desperately hoping that history may yet convert it into a victory.

Valls will now surely enter the ring, and I would guess he will immediately surpass Arnaud Montebourg--but not by much. The unity of the left is still far from assured. Mélenchon, I wager, will never drop out. Macron's bubble may collapse, but then again it may not. And Bayrou may still decide to get in (although I suspect that if Valls is the candidate, this becomes less likely, whereas if Montebourg is, Bayrou will almost surely run).

Little by little, the murk is dissipating, and we can begin to see the contours of the presidential race.