So French Elections?

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Ok I am not one who normally takes an interest in foreign political affairs as I hold the view that unless you have actually lived in a country and followed its politics for about 10 years then you simply do not have the proper insight into the country's political culture and climate to give an educated opinion on the matter. However I rather like Sarkozy, to me he seems like the best leader any European country has had in a good while. So when I hear that he might be in trouble of losing his position, and to a socialist at that, I am concerned.

I am getting information from other sources but I wanted to ask you guys on the Escapist, particularly Europeans the following questions:

1. How does the French Presidential election work? I understand there are 2 votes.

2. What are Sarkozy's chances of keeping his position?

3. How is Sarkozy viewed in France and in other European countries?

Given that I kind of like Sarkozy (I mean yeah he is probably a bit too liberal for me but as European politicians go he seems alright) I am guessing many Europeans do not like Sarkozy so I am prepared for there to be a lot of bile here but I would really rather just get straight and honest answers.

Also as the election is imminent (might actually be today) we can discuss the results and what they mean.

Oh and while I am asking questions, what are the major French political parties and where do they fall on the political spectrum?

For example in Britain I know that the Conservative Party (Tories) is probably the most Conservative major party in Britian (and given that Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, two of my favorite modern British leaders, come from this party I can't help but call it my favorite British political party) while Labour Party is more of a moderate leftist party while the Liberal Democrats are the most left of the 3 major British political parties (ignoring the ones that seem to be based more on Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland). By the way if I got that wrong I would rather be corrected on that then go on with the wrong idea.

Seekster:
Ok I am not one who normally takes an interest in foreign political affairs as I hold the view that unless you have actually lived in a country and followed its politics for about 10 years then you simply do not have the proper insight into the country's political culture and climate to give an educated opinion on the matter. However I rather like Sarkozy, to me he seems like the best leader any European country has had in a good while. So when I hear that he might be in trouble of losing his position, and to a socialist at that, I am concerned.

I am getting information from other sources but I wanted to ask you guys on the Escapist, particularly Europeans the following questions:

1. How does the French Presidential election work? I understand there are 2 votes.

2. What are Sarkozy's chances of keeping his position?

3. How is Sarkozy viewed in France and in other European countries?

Given that I kind of like Sarkozy (I mean yeah he is probably a bit too liberal for me but as European politicians go he seems alright) I am guessing many Europeans do not like Sarkozy so I am prepared for there to be a lot of bile here but I would really rather just get straight and honest answers.

Also as the election is imminent (might actually be today) we can discuss the results and what they mean.

Oh and while I am asking questions, what are the major French political parties and where do they fall on the political spectrum?

For example in Britain I know that the Conservative Party (Tories) is probably the most Conservative major party in Britian (and given that Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, two of my favorite modern British leaders, come from this party I can't help but call it my favorite British political party) while Labour Party is more of a moderate leftist party while the Liberal Democrats are the most left of the 3 major British political parties (ignoring the ones that seem to be based more on Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland). By the way if I got that wrong I would rather be corrected on that then go on with the wrong idea.

1. Two rounds of voting. After the first round the lowest candidates get knocked out and then after I believe 2 weeks you have the second round of voting between the two highest in the 1st round. If someone gets 50% of the vots in the first round then there isn't a second round.
The 1st round voting ends in 95 mins at 2000 CET (French elections are always held on a Sunday with polls opening at 6am and closing at 6pm apart from large cities which close at 8pm). Before then by law no exit polling is allowed to be published so nobody knows anything until after the polls have closed in order to prevent people being dissuaded from voting.

2. Sarko's chances are not that good at all. I've been following this election and he is conistently coming 2nd in the 1st round polls and then losing the 2nd. Francois Hollande is the person tipped to take the presidency.

3. Speaking only for my place of work, as a self serving, power hungry tosser.

Edit: on Britain's parties it's (left to right) Labour, LD, Tory.

1. What the guy above said, although I hasten to add that the French overseas territories (or whatever they call them) vote first, something to do with coordinating timezones.
2. He's probably going to lose, but it's still a close run thing.
3.In France, which thinks of itself as liberal/socialist, he's seen as too far to the right, to close to the USA, and having too much of a jet set lifestyle. In the UK, he's French, but apart from that viewed with ambivalance most of the time, and occasional distaste when things like burkhas are banned or he makes some dig at us.

TheGuy(wantstobe):
Edit: on Britain's parties it's (left to right) Labour, LD, Tory.

Not quite, Old Labour were to the left, but the current party are slightly left of centre, and the Lib Dems are centre left.

Edit: To give you an idea of how far to the left France is (hold on to your hats Americans) The Communist candidate got 12% of the vote.

DJjaffacake:
1. What the guy above said, although I hasten to add that the French overseas territories (or whatever they call them) vote first, something to do with coordinating timezones.
2. He's probably going to lose, but it's still a close run thing.
3.In France, which thinks of itself as liberal/socialist, he's seen as too far to the right, to close to the USA, and having too much of a jet set lifestyle. In the UK, he's French, but apart from that viewed with ambivalance most of the time, and occasional distaste when things like burkhas are banned or he makes some dig at us.

TheGuy(wantstobe):
Edit: on Britain's parties it's (left to right) Labour, LD, Tory.

Not quite, Old Labour were to the left, but the current party are slightly left of centre, and the Lib Dems are centre left.

All relative to each other in my left>right explanation. All parties are pretty much center on a Global Scale.

Forgot about the French Overseas Territories.

Also, Belgium has been nice enough to release some exit polls
http://www.rtbf.be/

Well, I don't know Hollande at all. I like the name, but... The rest is an unknown to me, and from what I understand his party is quite left wing, as in, quite a bit beyond centrist social-democrats, and that's rarely a good thing.

Then again, I like Sarkozy's message and mentality, but I don't have the idea he accomplished much. I don't expect him to break bars of iron with his bare hands or anything, but even within the confines of a fairly slow-working democracy I don't have the idea be reformed too much.
Neither do I like tiny guys trying to compensate for something. Maybe it's because I'm that tall and dominant myself but all I've ever seen of such people is bad attitudes and childish behaviour.

I guess anything is fine as long as Mélenchon (conservative socialists) and Le Pen (xenophobic nationalists) don't get anywhere.

The Democractic Movement and their candidate Bayrou also has some nice points, they stress France's national debth and wanting to build bridges between left and right, but their party doesn't stand much of a chance and neither does their candidate.

It's a little sad the youngest serious candidate is 57 though. Not really a representation of the French population that age.

Seekster:

For example in Britain I know that the Conservative Party (Tories) is probably the most Conservative major party in Britian (and given that Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, two of my favorite modern British leaders, come from this party I can't help but call it my favorite British political party) while Labour Party is more of a moderate leftist party while the Liberal Democrats are the most left of the 3 major British political parties (ignoring the ones that seem to be based more on Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland). By the way if I got that wrong I would rather be corrected on that then go on with the wrong idea.

From left to right wing: Labour -- Liberal Democrats -- Conservatives

Labour is composed mainly of democratic socialists, social democrats and sort-of-centrist Third Wayers. They maintain that they are a "democratic socialist" party, though the influence of Blair and Brown has influenced a shift towards the centre.

For the Lib Dems, the party's (generally speaking) divided into social liberals and classical liberals and would best be described as centre-left/radical centrist, though arguably have more centre-right power since being a part of the coalition government. British "liberalism" is quite distinct from American "liberalism".

Conservatives are mostly a mix of Thatcherites, One Nation Conservatives (a reasonably pragmatic philosophy), Cameronites, and a socially conservative backbencher wing which tends to be somewhat swept under the rug.

Think of it as Labour being firmly centre-left, Lib Dems being centre-left/centrist, and Tories being firmly centre-right. Labour and Conservatives consider each other to be ideologically opposed. With the Lib Dems in a position to be approachable by both factions, the Conservatives were happy to accept them in a coalition after the hung parliament in 2010.

Seekster:
So when I hear that he might be in trouble of losing his position, and to a socialist at that, I am concerned.

Socialism isn't the curseword here in europe as it is in the US. Hell when Bush was president he had no closer ally than Tony Blair a Democratic Socialist.

As for the French elections: Sarcozy was very proactive especially in Europe. This made him somewhat popular in other countries, but didn't go over as well in France. Especially in combination of his sometimes James Bondesque Image and the cuts that he proposes.

Don't know much about Hollande except that he is going to win the elections.

Another thing that I'm curious about is the % of votes that the conservative socialists and the conservative nationalists at the respective left and right extremes of the french political spectrum will get.

Seekster:
Ok I am not one who normally takes an interest in foreign political affairs as I hold the view that unless you have actually lived in a country and followed its politics for about 10 years then you simply do not have the proper insight into the country's political culture and climate to give an educated opinion on the matter. However I rather like Sarkozy, to me he seems like the best leader any European country has had in a good while. So when I hear that he might be in trouble of losing his position, and to a socialist at that, I am concerned.

I am getting information from other sources but I wanted to ask you guys on the Escapist, particularly Europeans the following questions:

1. How does the French Presidential election work? I understand there are 2 votes.

2. What are Sarkozy's chances of keeping his position?

3. How is Sarkozy viewed in France and in other European countries?

Given that I kind of like Sarkozy (I mean yeah he is probably a bit too liberal for me but as European politicians go he seems alright) I am guessing many Europeans do not like Sarkozy so I am prepared for there to be a lot of bile here but I would really rather just get straight and honest answers.

Also as the election is imminent (might actually be today) we can discuss the results and what they mean.

Oh and while I am asking questions, what are the major French political parties and where do they fall on the political spectrum?

For example in Britain I know that the Conservative Party (Tories) is probably the most Conservative major party in Britian (and given that Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, two of my favorite modern British leaders, come from this party I can't help but call it my favorite British political party) while Labour Party is more of a moderate leftist party while the Liberal Democrats are the most left of the 3 major British political parties (ignoring the ones that seem to be based more on Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland). By the way if I got that wrong I would rather be corrected on that then go on with the wrong idea.

A wee bit on Scotland.

It is complex, but Thatcher to many (most) Scots was seen as anti-Scottish both by lefties and (non-Tory) conservatives

The SNP (Scottish National Party) is nationalist but a broad church of left and right. They are mostly left wing as Scotland - and now it gets weird - is a fairly "conservative" country and didn't like the anti-society worshipping-mammon radicalism of Thatcher. Thatcherism was an extreme "greed is good" variant of conservatism that was at loggerheads with more traditional "one nation" conservatism. So she alienated the Scots big time.

I am fairly conservative myself on some issues (left on others), but as a Scot I would NEVER vote tory and hate Thatcher almost instinctively. This is why they have so few seats in Scotland, even Scottish conservative-minded people tend to hate them.

Regards

Nightspore

Im still not clear on the whole reasons people hate Margaret Thatcher. Best I can figure its the same reasons those people hate Reagan. Thatcher did something to try and fix problems and didnt just manage the decline so to speak. Personally I think Thatcher is the best thing that has happened to Britian in the last 50 years but like I said, I don't get into the habit of talking down to other countries about their politics. Its their politics after all.

Blablahb:
Well, I don't know Hollande at all. I like the name, but... The rest is an unknown to me, and from what I understand his party is quite left wing, as in, quite a bit beyond centrist social-democrats, and that's rarely a good thing.

The difference though is that in France the left is so successful that the Right has no ideology, they just go on a platform of being better administrators.

Blablahb:

Then again, I like Sarkozy's message and mentality, but I don't have the idea he accomplished much. I don't expect him to break bars of iron with his bare hands or anything, but even within the confines of a fairly slow-working democracy I don't have the idea be reformed too much.

He's hated so much, again not because of his ideology which again most people agree with, but because he's trying to side so much with the right therefore in context out of any intellectual discussion.

image
From Le Monde.

Quite surprised at MLP's amount but that'll probably drop a little once the bigger cities start gettting counted in.

edit: One thing of note is that the exit polling is France is unusually good compared to the rest of the EU/world so it's pretty safe to call the first round for Hollande.

Seekster:
Im still not clear on the whole reasons people hate Margaret Thatcher. Best I can figure its the same reasons those people hate Reagan. Thatcher did something to try and fix problems and didnt just manage the decline so to speak. Personally I think Thatcher is the best thing that has happened to Britian in the last 50 years but like I said, I don't get into the habit of talking down to other countries about their politics. Its their politics after all.

Thing is, she privatised a lot of previously state owned businesses, let failing companies collapse, etc. Which is good for the economy as a whole, but often bad for the little guy. Plus a lot of people don't like how close she was to the USA.

Seekster:
Im still not clear on the whole reasons people hate Margaret Thatcher. Best I can figure its the same reasons those people hate Reagan. Thatcher did something to try and fix problems and didnt just manage the decline so to speak. Personally I think Thatcher is the best thing that has happened to Britian in the last 50 years but like I said, I don't get into the habit of talking down to other countries about their politics. Its their politics after all.

Thatchers hated (mainly in the North of England) because her policies of economic liberalisation killed industries (textiles, steel, mining) which employed millions of people up north. Now, to be fair to her most of these industries were in decline anyway, and i think her rationality was that by privatising them they would become more efficient and profitable- instead they collapsed anyway without government support. She only won a second election due to the Falklands War, which was a tremendous PR success for her. It was also fortunate that we began exploiting north sea oil- the revenues from that covered the billions of pounds the government had to spend on unemployment benefit.

The financial sector in the UK grew however, but the only people that really benefited were the Bankers, not the millions of factory workers and miners that had been made unemployed. She also changed the law so people had the right to buy council houses, making private home ownership popular- which has led to a continuous rise in house prices which makes it increasingly difficult for first-term buyers to get on the property ladder and also accumulates massive amounts of personal debt. So, those who were wealthy enough to buy their own council houses became a lot more wealthier as house-prices increased, leaving those who were too poor to buy their own properties (chances are they've been laid off from the mines/steel or textile mill) were left in council homes. The final straw for Thatcher was when she tried to introduce a Poll-Tax (a flat tax rate) and riots kicked off across Britain-her Cabinet kicked her out of office.

Basically, Thatcher's regarded in the North of England as killing of the industries and making everyone unemployed. I feel a lot of Britains current social problems- i.e- the Chav phenomena and talk about Britain as a "broken society" stems from the fallout of Thatchers economic reforms. With Thatcher, the factories and the pits closed- but nothing new was created. British manufacturing has not recovered from Thatchers reforms, and we're too heavily based on London's financial sector which meant we were especially screwed when the world financial crisis hit.

OT:
Sarcozy's been good on foreign policy, he's elevated France, Britain and Europe's political presence on the world stage. I won't be complaining if he wins this coming election. As for Hollande, i'm personally more closely aligned with his parties ideologically than Sarcozy but i feel some of his reforms may be to risky (such as a tax hike on the banks) given the tense economic climate in Europe. Still, if he's successful i think it will change the general direction of Europe economically. At the moment the order of the day is cut cut cut government expenditure to reduce national debt- but there isn't any growth. If Hollande's economic policies (such as creating 150,000 state-sector jobs) work and create jobs, then the rest of Europe will follow.

I don't really mind who wins, but it would be nice to see how a socialist president grapples with Europe's financial problems. I just hope he's as decisive as Sarcozy when it comes to foregin policy and continues on his work to deepen military co-operation with the UK. My money's on him winning.

DJjaffacake:

Seekster:
Im still not clear on the whole reasons people hate Margaret Thatcher. Best I can figure its the same reasons those people hate Reagan. Thatcher did something to try and fix problems and didnt just manage the decline so to speak. Personally I think Thatcher is the best thing that has happened to Britian in the last 50 years but like I said, I don't get into the habit of talking down to other countries about their politics. Its their politics after all.

Thing is, she privatised a lot of previously state owned businesses, let failing companies collapse, etc. Which is good for the economy as a whole, but often bad for the little guy. Plus a lot of people don't like how close she was to the USA.

You see I think most of that is good overall. Its not an easy decision to let failing businesses collapse by any means but its sometimes something you have to do.

Seekster:

DJjaffacake:

Seekster:
Im still not clear on the whole reasons people hate Margaret Thatcher. Best I can figure its the same reasons those people hate Reagan. Thatcher did something to try and fix problems and didnt just manage the decline so to speak. Personally I think Thatcher is the best thing that has happened to Britian in the last 50 years but like I said, I don't get into the habit of talking down to other countries about their politics. Its their politics after all.

Thing is, she privatised a lot of previously state owned businesses, let failing companies collapse, etc. Which is good for the economy as a whole, but often bad for the little guy. Plus a lot of people don't like how close she was to the USA.

You see I think most of that is good overall. Its not an easy decision to let failing businesses collapse by any means but its sometimes something you have to do.

It's not everyone who hates her. Some people are like you, they think she turned the country around, and there's definitely some truth in that. But it's hard to see that when her government cost you your job, and you have the knock on effect of the people who know those people disliking her as well. And she went out on a low, the Conservatives were collapsing and there'd been riots over new taxes.

I don't fallow French politics much, but I instantly disliked the guy going against Sarkozy when he said he wanted a 75% tax on the rich.

Hardcore_gamer:
I don't fallow French politics much, but I instantly disliked the guy going against Sarkozy when he said he wanted a 75% tax on the rich.

Why is that a bad thing, surely they of all people can afford it?

DJjaffacake:

Seekster:

DJjaffacake:
Thing is, she privatised a lot of previously state owned businesses, let failing companies collapse, etc. Which is good for the economy as a whole, but often bad for the little guy. Plus a lot of people don't like how close she was to the USA.

You see I think most of that is good overall. Its not an easy decision to let failing businesses collapse by any means but its sometimes something you have to do.

It's not everyone who hates her. Some people are like you, they think she turned the country around, and there's definitely some truth in that. But it's hard to see that when her government cost you your job, and you have the knock on effect of the people who know those people disliking her as well. And she went out on a low, the Conservatives were collapsing and there'd been riots over new taxes.

Yeah from what I have read about her she had a personality that could put people off. She simply wasnt the Great Communicator Reagan was though her policies are notably similar.

Also taxing you for 75% of your income is bat-shit insane.

Nickolai77:

Sarcozy's been good on foreign policy, he's elevated France, Britain and Europe's political presence on the world stage. I won't be complaining if he wins this coming election. As for Hollande, i'm personally more closely aligned with his parties ideologically than Sarcozy but i feel some of his reforms may be to risky (such as a tax hike on the banks) given the tense economic climate in Europe. Still, if he's successful i think it will change the general direction of Europe economically. At the moment the order of the day is cut cut cut government expenditure to reduce national debt- but there isn't any growth. If Hollande's economic policies (such as creating 150,000 state-sector jobs) work and create jobs, then the rest of Europe will follow.

I don't really mind who wins, but it would be nice to see how a socialist president grapples with Europe's financial problems. I just hope he's as decisive as Sarcozy when it comes to foregin policy and continues on his work to deepen military co-operation with the UK. My money's on him winning.

Completely agreed.

Especially his decisive actions in Ivory Coast and Libya deserve mention. Without Sarkozy I doubt the Libyan intervention would have taken place at all and Ivory Coast would probably be knee-deep in a civil war right now. Even if both of these only served to increase his popularity at home they were still hugely important from both a human rights as from a regional stability perspective.

From what I know, his handling of the Euro Crisis was also very professional. He coordinated his efforts tightly with Mrs. Merkel to reach an applicable solution and tried to persuade her towards some form of joint liability measures. While the latter didn't work yet, their continued cooperation ensured that at least some progress was made to alleviate the crisis - nothing that should be underestimated.

Mr. Hollande on the other hand has made a campaign promise to renegotiate the newly signed European treaty promoting austerity measures. While it is far from certain that he will actually do this and to what extend, measures such as this will provoke fears in the markets and might very well worsen the ongoing crisis.

In terms of interior politics, though, Sarkozys politics seem much less successful and I personal abhor some of his measures like the campaign against illegal Roma settlements throughout France. However, from what I heard, Mr. Hollandes promises to promote workers rights and increase social spending won't do much good to France in the long run. However, if he wins, I don't think Mr. Hollande will be much worse than Mr. Sarkozy overall.

In the end, I think both candidates are perfectly able to solve Frances problems and do a good job overall - to what extend we will see.

Seekster:
She simply wasnt the Great Communicator Reagan was though her policies are notably similar.

Also taxing you for 75% of your income is bat-shit insane.

I don't know, there was a reason they called her the Iron Lady, and there was the whole "no, no, no." business.

And I don't have a massive issue with the 75% tax, it may be slightly excessive, but if they can afford it, then meh.

Seekster:

Also taxing you for 75% of your income is bat-shit insane.

It's aimed at reducing debt - For a comparison the US income tax rate for the wealthiest was at 91% between 1946 and 1964 with a similar purpose.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.htmlU.S

Seekster:

DJjaffacake:

Seekster:

You see I think most of that is good overall. Its not an easy decision to let failing businesses collapse by any means but its sometimes something you have to do.

It's not everyone who hates her. Some people are like you, they think she turned the country around, and there's definitely some truth in that. But it's hard to see that when her government cost you your job, and you have the knock on effect of the people who know those people disliking her as well. And she went out on a low, the Conservatives were collapsing and there'd been riots over new taxes.

Yeah from what I have read about her she had a personality that could put people off. She simply wasnt the Great Communicator Reagan was though her policies are notably similar.

Also taxing you for 75% of your income is bat-shit insane.

I think Britain is generally more left-wing than america (see healthcare for instance) so policies that went down well on your side just wouldn't fly with us. And vice versa of course (again, see healthcare).

also, re 75% tax, i don't know the exact proposal but its usually only money over a certain threshold that is taxed at that level, and usually by the time you get to those levels money isn't really useful for anything more than a way of keeping score.

Dajosch:

Nickolai77:

Sarcozy's been good on foreign policy, he's elevated France, Britain and Europe's political presence on the world stage. I won't be complaining if he wins this coming election. As for Hollande, i'm personally more closely aligned with his parties ideologically than Sarcozy but i feel some of his reforms may be to risky (such as a tax hike on the banks) given the tense economic climate in Europe. Still, if he's successful i think it will change the general direction of Europe economically. At the moment the order of the day is cut cut cut government expenditure to reduce national debt- but there isn't any growth. If Hollande's economic policies (such as creating 150,000 state-sector jobs) work and create jobs, then the rest of Europe will follow.

I don't really mind who wins, but it would be nice to see how a socialist president grapples with Europe's financial problems. I just hope he's as decisive as Sarcozy when it comes to foregin policy and continues on his work to deepen military co-operation with the UK. My money's on him winning.

Completely agreed.

Especially his decisive actions in Ivory Coast and Libya deserve mention. Without Sarkozy I doubt the Libyan intervention would have taken place at all and Ivory Coast would probably be knee-deep in a civil war right now. Even if both of these only served to increase his popularity at home they were still hugely important from both a human rights as from a regional stability perspective.

From what I know, his handling of the Euro Crisis was also very professional. He coordinated his efforts tightly with Mrs. Merkel to reach an applicable solution and tried to persuade her towards some form of joint liability measures. While the latter didn't work yet, their continued cooperation ensured that at least some progress was made to alleviate the crisis - nothing that should be underestimated.

Mr. Hollande on the other hand has made a campaign promise to renegotiate the newly signed European treaty promoting austerity measures. While it is far from certain that he will actually do this and to what extend, measures such as this will provoke fears in the markets and might very well worsen the ongoing crisis.

In terms of interior politics, though, Sarkozys politics seem much less successful and I personal abhor some of his measures like the campaign against illegal Roma settlements throughout France. However, from what I heard, Mr. Hollandes promises to promote workers rights and increase social spending won't do much good to France in the long run. However, if he wins, I don't think Mr. Hollande will be much worse than Mr. Sarkozy overall.

In the end, I think both candidates are perfectly able to solve Frances problems and do a good job overall - to what extend we will see.

I should have mentioned that domestically he does come down hard on the immigrants which i disagree with. Although, in part i think to significant degree he's influenced by the French electorate who are very right wing when it comes to immigrants. Sarcozy's got to appease his right-wing voters lest they vote for Le Pen hence he comes out with statements such as there being too many immigrants in France and such. Sarcozy himself though has a Hungarian-Jewish farther...which is why i don't entirely see his anti-immigration statements as genuine and heart felt.

Still, when the German elections due? It feels like Merkel's been in power for ages.

Captcha: Van surfing XD

The gist of it I got from the BBC is that Sarkozy is generally unpopular, but that Hollande isn't exactly exceptional in any way. The swing will be more about wanting Sarkozy out than wanting Hollande in. If it were a first-past-the-post Sarkozy might have better odds with votes being split between other candidates, but with the two stage system I don't see him having much chance. We'll see.

I shouldn't worry either way though. French politics is more diplomatic than in other countries. The president doesn't have as much power, and the overall direction is usually very moderate regardless of who is in charge.

Sarkozy is wildly unpopular. Although, I think, not so much for his policies.

Although France often seems very left wing, bear in mind that postwar there have only been two leftist presidents (Auriol, Mitterand) for a total of 3 terms - about 20 years from the last near 70. Giscard D'Estaing was a centreist. The rest have been right wing. France overwhelmingly tends to vote right.

Although Hollande has gone through the first round ahead, the Front Nationale (far right) took about 20%, whereas the Communists (far left) took only about 10%. Bayrou's centreists took about 10%. If the fringes as are likely vote for their next nearest choice, Sarkozy is probably ahead, if vulnerable. Much might depend on whether Martine Le Pen thinks it'd be better to shoot down Sarkozy in an attempt to take over the French right.

From what I have been reading my understanding that as far as Socialists go Hollande is pretty moderate and he has compromised with the more conservative politicians in the past.

As far as the tax proposal, it is 75% on income over €1 million. It is high by modern standards, but it effects very few people. The sensible of us know that despite what the right wing in America says, taxing the personal income of bigwig CEOs and so on does not lead to an economic collapse.

I agree with WoW Killer on this as a whole though. France is not America and having a President that is not from your party does not result in a shutdown of the legislative system. There will be a slight directional change, but as a whole they still have to reach compromise to pass legislation as they always have so things will come back towards the middle.

Seekster:
Im still not clear on the whole reasons people hate Margaret Thatcher. Best I can figure its the same reasons those people hate Reagan. Thatcher did something to try and fix problems and didnt just manage the decline so to speak. Personally I think Thatcher is the best thing that has happened to Britian in the last 50 years but like I said, I don't get into the habit of talking down to other countries about their politics. Its their politics after all.

Because Thatcher fixed some economic problems and fucked up society. When the modern Tories talk about "Broken Britain", well Thatcher broke it.

She didn't give a damn about the human cost of her reforms. Her policies put millions into unemployment and she cut their support systems, gave no help for them to retrain for the new non-manufacturing industry, and perhaps worst created an atmosphere of vilification and contempt for them. It left millions of people demoralised, embittered, and estranged from the state and each other, with all the resultant societal problems.

Agema:
Because Thatcher fixed some economic problems and fucked up society. When the modern Tories talk about "Broken Britain", well Thatcher broke it.

You mean broke it in the same way that all 'socialists' are the incarnation of satan himself and will destroy the economy if ever coming to power and only voting republican can save you.

All that happened is that old industries that were dying and bound to die for over a decade, died under Thatcher. Quelle surprise. And taking on the extremely militant and dogmatic labour unions was required to happen to. Postponing that would've meant economic damage and lots of it too, plus the crash of those old industries would've hit even harder.

The only thing you can really argue against Thatcher is her fear of the EU, which has resulted in a relatively marginalised position of the UK within the EU. If Germany speaks, everybody listens. If France speaks, everybody listens. If tiny Netherlands speaks, most people listen (for instance how former finance minister Zalm went head to head with France over budget legislation and eventually nearly got it). If the UK speaks, well, if it's convenient maybe they'll listen. And that attitude has been bred by governments like Thatcher's.

Blablahb:
You mean broke it in the same way that all 'socialists' are the incarnation of satan himself and will destroy the economy if ever coming to power and only voting republican can save you.

The only thing you can really argue against Thatcher is her fear of the EU...

So says the boy with the comfortable distance of living in a different country and being pre-school or unborn when she left power.

To you, Thatcher is just some dry economic statistics and abstract capitalism v. socialism debate. You don't know about, experience or consider the UK's issues with urban blight, crime, antisocial behaviour, family breakdown or wealth inequality. Stuff Thatcher has quite a lot to answer for.

Agema:

Blablahb:
You mean broke it in the same way that all 'socialists' are the incarnation of satan himself and will destroy the economy if ever coming to power and only voting republican can save you.

The only thing you can really argue against Thatcher is her fear of the EU...

So says the boy with the comfortable distance of living in a different country and being pre-school or unborn when she left power.

To you, Thatcher is just some dry economic statistics and abstract capitalism v. socialism debate. You don't know about, experience or consider the UK's issues with urban blight, crime, antisocial behaviour, family breakdown or wealth inequality. Stuff Thatcher has quite a lot to answer for.

Well in a way Blab is able to provide a more objective view of Thatcher as he never lived in Britian while she was Prime Minister. There are people who lived through FDR's administration who hate his guts for some things he did but those of us who never lived during his admin can look back and see that he did alright at the very least. Thatcher I think is the same way. Eventually those who lived in Britian while Thatcher was PM are going to die out and then Thatcher can only be judged from a historical perspective.

Seekster:

Agema:

Blablahb:
You mean broke it in the same way that all 'socialists' are the incarnation of satan himself and will destroy the economy if ever coming to power and only voting republican can save you.

The only thing you can really argue against Thatcher is her fear of the EU...

So says the boy with the comfortable distance of living in a different country and being pre-school or unborn when she left power.

To you, Thatcher is just some dry economic statistics and abstract capitalism v. socialism debate. You don't know about, experience or consider the UK's issues with urban blight, crime, antisocial behaviour, family breakdown or wealth inequality. Stuff Thatcher has quite a lot to answer for.

Well in a way Blab is able to provide a more objective view of Thatcher as he never lived in Britian while she was Prime Minister. There are people who lived through FDR's administration who hate his guts for some things he did but those of us who never lived during his admin can look back and see that he did alright at the very least. Thatcher I think is the same way. Eventually those who lived in Britian while Thatcher was PM are going to die out and then Thatcher can only be judged from a historical perspective.

From a long-term economic perspective she was an outright disaster. Privatizing previously nationalized industries for a minor short term gain, at a major long-term loss for the country, while slashing funding of essential services for the benefit of a gain for the very richest: Unemplyment; the deflationary policy; de-restriction of financial institutions; reduced funding for health, education, & the arts; hugely detrimental privatization of rail, communications, even aspects of the National Health Service.

The economist Stewart Morriss has published some excellent papers on Thatcher & her legacy, particularly The Social Structure of Modern Britain. If you want a detailed & objective account of her socio-economic effect on Great Britian you can't do much better than Morriss.

Nickolai77:

I should have mentioned that domestically he does come down hard on the immigrants which i disagree with. Although, in part i think to significant degree he's influenced by the French electorate who are very right wing when it comes to immigrants. Sarcozy's got to appease his right-wing voters lest they vote for Le Pen hence he comes out with statements such as there being too many immigrants in France and such. Sarcozy himself though has a Hungarian-Jewish farther...which is why i don't entirely see his anti-immigration statements as genuine and heart felt.

Could be. I'am still sceptic about his stance on these issues, though. If I recall correctly he had been in charge of domestic security in a previous government and was always mentioned as the law and order type.

Still, when the German elections due? It feels like Merkel's been in power for ages.

She is in office since 7 years. Parliamentary elections are due next year in september or october and chances are she will still be chancellor after that: The current makeup of the german political landscape has changed rather significantly since the last elections in 2009. The FDP (a liberal-democratic party) has essentially collapsed down from an all-time high below the 5% hurdle necessary to get back into the Bundestag. And this is the current coalition partner of the CDU-led government.

Instead, the Green Party has surged to popularity as did the new Pirate Party which pretty much serves as an outlet for general rising distrust of politics and lacks anything that could be called a political direction, yet. Both parties are fairly left-wing and unlikely to go into a coalition with the CDU.

So the only real possibility that I currently see is another grand-coalition between the social democratic SPD and the CDU - and guess which party is bigger and therefore will provide the chancellor....

Another 4 years with Merkel - I can't wait :P

Dajosch:

Nickolai77:

I should have mentioned that domestically he does come down hard on the immigrants which i disagree with. Although, in part i think to significant degree he's influenced by the French electorate who are very right wing when it comes to immigrants. Sarcozy's got to appease his right-wing voters lest they vote for Le Pen hence he comes out with statements such as there being too many immigrants in France and such. Sarcozy himself though has a Hungarian-Jewish farther...which is why i don't entirely see his anti-immigration statements as genuine and heart felt.

Could be. I'am still sceptic about his stance on these issues, though. If I recall correctly he had been in charge of domestic security in a previous government and was always mentioned as the law and order type.

Still, when the German elections due? It feels like Merkel's been in power for ages.

She is in office since 7 years. Parliamentary elections are due next year in september or october and chances are she will still be chancellor after that: The current makeup of the german political landscape has changed rather significantly since the last elections in 2009. The FDP (a liberal-democratic party) has essentially collapsed down from an all-time high below the 5% hurdle necessary to get back into the Bundestag. And this is the current coalition partner of the CDU-led government.

Instead, the Green Party has surged to popularity as did the new Pirate Party which pretty much serves as an outlet for general rising distrust of politics and lacks anything that could be called a political direction, yet. Both parties are fairly left-wing and unlikely to go into a coalition with the CDU.

So the only real possibility that I currently see is another grand-coalition between the social democratic SPD and the CDU - and guess which party is bigger and therefore will provide the chancellor....

Another 4 years with Merkel - I can't wait :P

Well Merkel's appeared to be been pretty decent from where i'm sat so i'm not complaining if she stays in office another four years. She deserves a decade in office more than Blair did. My only gripe with her (but really this is more to do with the political mindset of Germany) is abstaining from the UN Security Council resolution concerning Libya- it kind of killed European unity, which we're going to need if the EU's going to be an independent and coherent military actor.

Btw, i envy how in Germany the minor parties which people vote for when they're pissed off at the mainstream are the Greens and the Pirate Party. Guess who we have in the UK? UKIP or the BNP. It's a choice between chavy racist xenophobic twats or posh racist xenophobic twats..to put it lightly.

Nickolai77:

Well Merkel's appeared to be been pretty decent from where i'm sat so i'm not complaining if she stays in office another four years. She deserves a decade in office more than Blair did. My only gripe with her (but really this is more to do with the political mindset of Germany) is abstaining from the UN Security Council resolution concerning Libya- it kind of killed European unity, which we're going to need if the EU's going to be an independent and coherent military actor.

Well the thing about Mrs. Merkel is that she generally keeps a low profile and thats why criticisms of government policies don't translate into a slump in popularity for her. Instead everything stuck on the FDP. Not completely without reason, though: Our foreign secretary Mr. Westerwelle from the FDP was extremely inept at his job at first. He was barely visible; And when he was, he made mistakes. As far as I'am aware the Libya debacle was essentially his fault and not part of some elaborate plan or far-thinking pacifist foreign policy - the media backlash was also very prominent about that.

Still, from my perspective, Mrs. Merkel seems to get a lot of leverage when it comes to those things. People fussed over her sudden change in attitude regarding nuclear energy and there were are a lot of people criticizing her handling of the Euro Crisis - but nothing came out of it. Unfairly, if you ask me.

Then again, I'am generally nitpicking away at my current government no matter which one it is. And I don't even think that Mrs. Merkel does a bad job - however, I expected more of this government and from Mrs. Merkel. That she didn't deliver is something that makes me skeptical about any future performance.

Btw, i envy how in Germany the minor parties which people vote for when they're pissed off at the mainstream are the Greens and the Pirate Party. Guess who we have in the UK? UKIP or the BNP. It's a choice between chavy racist xenophobic twats or posh racist xenophobic twats..to put it lightly.

I'am also VERY glad about that. However, I don't think it will last. That general feeling of distrust and rising xenophobia around here is as strong as anywhere else in Europe. What's currently keeping a populist right-wing party from forming is the comparably strong economy and lack of a charismatic leader who can pick up the disillusioned. In a few years, though, I predict Germany will join the ranks of countries with strong far right-wing parties - Something I'am not looking forward to....

hmmm that reminds me: What are the chances of the UKIP/BNP getting into the government? I'd guess that your FPTP voting system is a rather high hurdle for these guys, right?

Nickolai77:
Guess who we have in the UK? UKIP or the BNP. It's a choice between chavy racist xenophobic twats or posh racist xenophobic twats..to put it lightly.

There's also the (apparently) Marxist xenophobic twats of the SLP. First I heard of them was a PPB with Ricky Tomlinson telling me how immigrants were the cause of all our problems. And that's what Marxism means, apparently... But they do want to re-open mines and shit.

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