Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The frogs' new boss

As they have precious little to be proud of, the french people today made the best of a rare moment of pride to usher in the 7th president of the Fifth Republic, Francois Hollande. He arrived this morning at the 18th-century Elysee Palace where he was greeted by outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy and they held a 40-minute private meeting. This meeting is of course to facilitate the transfer of france's nuclear codes and where a representative of UNETIDA would provide him with "The Blue Book".

After taking his oath, Hollande received the insignia of the Grand Croix from Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, Great Chancellor of the national order of the Legion of Honour and the necklace of the Great Master of the Order of the Legion of Honor. Each linked medallion of the necklace bears the name of a president, with Hollande's name recently added.

In his first speech, Hollande vowed to fight financial speculation but acknowledged that he inherits huge government debt. He opposes austerity measures championed by Germany in favour of government stimulus. "My mandate is to bring france back to justice, open up a new way in Europe, contribute to world peace and preserve the planet," Mr Hollande said.

Hollande also pledged to bring "dignity" to the presidential role — something voters felt that Sarkozy did not always do. Voters were disappointed over Sarkozy's handling of france's economy — which has high unemployment and low growth — and recoiled at his aggressive personality [and for france - that was saying something!]

After his inauguration, Mr Hollande stood before a military band as it played the french national anthem, La Marseillaise. As with tradition, 21 gun shots were fired above the Invalides that holds Napoleon's tomb. He shook hands with the people before reviewing troops in the palace gardens. Trailed by dozens of Republican Guardsmen on horseback and motorcycle, Hollande's hybrid Citroen DS5 rode up the center of the Champs-Elysees heading for the Arc de Triomphe, and its monument to the unknown soldier.

Hollande plans to leave shortly on his first diplomatic foray — to Berlin, where he is meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a critical meeting on austerity and growth in Europe.

1 comment:

Constance said...

You know quite a bit about the taking of office in France. A suspicious amount, one might say...