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Francois Hollande

Despite being one of France's best known politicians, the 57-year-old Hollande had never held a position in the national government. Hollande has been on the French political scene for more than 30 years, climbing up through the ranks under the last Socialist president, Francois Mitterrand. He went to the elite school, the National School of Administration [ENA]. Then he served in the Élysée Palace under Mitterrand as a junior Cabinet member. Then he became the secretary-general of the Socialist Party for 11 years and then he declared himself candidate to the presidential election.

François Hollande was born 12 August 1954 in Rouen. He has four children. He was First Secretary of the Socialist Party (from 1997 to 2008), Mayor of Tulle (from 2001 to 2008), he was member of the Corrèze, (1988-1993) and then from 1997 to 2012 and president of the general Council of Corrèze (from 2008 to 2012).

François Hollande is a graduate of HEC Paris and the Institute of political studies in Paris. He is an alumnus of the École nationale d'administration (ENA), promotion Voltaire in 1980.

He joined the Socialist Party in 1979. Out of the ENA, in 1980 he became auditor at the Court of Auditors. He is also, at this time, lecturer at the IEP of Paris.

In 1981, following the election of François Mitterand the Presidency of the Republic, François Holland became Chargé de mission at the Elysee. At the legislative elections of June 1981, François Holland is candidate in Corrèze. In 1983, he was appointed Chief of staff to two successive Government spokesman Pierre Mauroy: Max Gallo and Roland Dumas. In 1984, he became counsel to the Court of Auditors.

In the 1988 elections, which follow the re-election of François Mitterand, he was elected Deputy for the first District of the Corrèze. From 1988 to 1991, he was Professor of Economics at the Institute of political studies in Paris.

In 1993, he lost his mandate of Member of Parliament. He took the Chair of the "Witness" of Jacques Delors club where he remained until 1997. He became national Secretary of the Socialist Party for economic issues, in November 1994. And in 1995, Lionel JOSPIN named spokesman of the Socialist Party.

In 1997, after the victory of the plural left, François Hollande found his seat of Corrèze and became first Secretary of the Socialist Party. He was officially declared candidate for the Socialist primary, in March 2011, and wins in October 2011.

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been favored to win the Socialist Party nomination, but a sex scandal knocked him out of the race, opening the way for Hollande to defeat his remaining rival, Martine Aubry, in a primary election.

In May 2012, François Holland became the 7th president of the Fifth Republic. On May 15, 2012, outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy handed the metaphorical baton to Hollande. A bitter race between the two had left things awkward, to say the least. While both men respected the protocol of the ceremony, Hollande was later roundly criticized by the right for his lack of tact. At the end of the ceremony, Hollande turned on his heels without seeing Sarko off. Usually, the new arrival at the Elysée waits as his predecessor gets into his car and leaves the courtyard of the Elysée. Rain drenched Paris, prompting many to predict a difficult five years for the new president. Even more ominous (or just unlucky): lightning struck Hollande's plane as he traveled to Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Hollande’s economic policies included raising taxes on the very rich, freezing fuel prices, increasing welfare payments and hiring 60,000 new teachers. During the presidential campaign, Hollande’s slogan of “my enemy is the world of finance” raised eyebrows, especially in some European capitals, including London.

Hollande made a point of travelling to London to calm fears that he was a radical. He wanted to say that 'I am not going to be a Marxist. I am not going to be a crypto communist. I am not someone who will make nationalization and things like that'. When he said so, he just wanted to reassure the international financial milieu and markets that you could be a socialist and a pragmatic person, and that France is not going to change.

Hollande called for renegotiating the fiscal pact, the economic agreement forged by the European Union to stabilize the euro currency. Hollande’s call to reopen that pact, and to focus more on stimulus than austerity, would certainly win him some support in France and in other European countries - notably Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal - but it could spell trouble with Berlin.

There were other foreign-policy differences between Hollande and. Sarkozy: the timing of French troops' withdrawal from from Afghanistan, and Sarkozy’s decision to bring France back into NATO’s integrated military structure. Hollande said, ‘I want French troops out in 2012.' Sarkozy said 2013. NATO and Washington said 2014.

Analyste expected that Mr. Hollande will not try to undo Mr. Sarkozy’s NATO policy, but predicted he will give it a fresh look. And that would suggest that there might be a return to a French foreign policy that is somewhat less Atlanticist than it has been under Sarkozy. Sarkozy was the most Atlanticist, pro-American president since World War Two in France.

President Hollande will look and sound less pro-American than Nicolas Sarkozy. He will look and sound less pro-Israeli than Nicolas Sarkozy. But the margin of maneuvering is so slim that there would not be major differences between the foreign policy of Hollande and the foreign policy of Nicolas Sarkozy. And that also meant no great change in relations between Washington and Paris.




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