• France's news in English

The honeymoon is over: Hollande marks 100 days

AFP · 14 Aug 2012, 10:30

Published: 14 Aug 2012 10:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Record unemployment and an economy headed back into recession provide a sombre backdrop to an event Hollande will mark by interrupting his summer

break to visit police officers in a village where two of their female colleagues died in a shootout in June.

The village, Pierrefeu-du-Var, is located close to the Fort de Bregançon presidential retreat where Hollande has been on holiday with his glamorous
journalist girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiller, since the beginning of August.

Political observers say the choice of location is no accident as Hollande attempts to portray himself as a president who shares voters' concerns over
insecurity and is willing to take tough measures to fight crime.

On Saturday, after attending a memorial service for the 88th French soldier to die in Afghanistan, Hollande made an unannounced detour to Grenoble to
visit victims of a recent violent hold-up, promising that the city would be added to a list of priority areas for tougher action on crime.

Polls suggest that law and order is an area where Hollande's Socialists are vulnerable to attack but it is on foreign affairs that the right-wing
opposition has focused its criticism in recent weeks.

Accusing him of standing by passively in the face of carnage in Syria, the main opposition UMP party has portrayed Hollande as a hopeless ditherer,
incapable of the kind of bold action which saw his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, lead Western intervention in Libya last year.

It is a caricature that, worryingly for the Socialists, appears to be sticking and the combination with a deteriorating economic outlook has not
helped Hollande's standing with an electorate that handed him a convincing victory over Sarkozy in May.

"After 100 days, Mr Hollande has still to assert his leadership," said a headline in the influential Le Monde.

Libération, suggested that voters are sceptical about the new administration's capacity to address the myriad problems facing the country.

"The French are still struggling to understand where François Hollande and his team are really leading them," Liberation said in an editorial.

The results of an opinion poll carried out for Le Figaro newspaper at the weekend will have made grim reading for Hollande and Trierweiller as they
celebrated his 58th birthday in their Riviera retreat on Sunday.

A majority (54 percent) of the electorate declared themselves unhappy with the president's performance to date and a slightly smaller majority (51
percent) said things had changed for the worse since he took office.

Of recent French presidents, only Jacques Chirac has fared worse in the polls at such an early stage of his administration.

Story continues below…

Paradoxically, big majorities of voters say Hollande has so far stuck to his electoral promises, most notably reinstating retirement at 60 for
long-serving workers, and certain policies such as the accelerated withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan are very popular.

The mood among many French people seems to be one of resignation. The problems Hollande is facing, particularly on the economic front, appear simply
too big for him to do much about them.

The polls have not all been bad for Hollande. One carried out for the Journal du Dimanche last week saw him placed 15th on a list of the most popular personalities in France.

That still left him trailing the likes of former tennis star Yannick Noah and football legend Zinedine Zidane but Holland could take comfort from the
fact that he was the only politician to make the top 50.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available