The first round of France’s presidential election is now over. The second round will be held in two weeks, and my preferred candidate (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan), as expected, failed to make the cut. The choice France must now make is between incmubent Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist challenger Francois Hollande (Telegraph, UK).
I, for one, support Hollande, and I hope the French electorate does, too.
On domestic matters, little separate Sarkozy and Hollande. The latter’s plans for higher taxes and more spending get more attention (because Hollande is from the left), but Sarkozy has been just as bad in his re-election bid. About the only subtantial difference between the two is that Hollande would reverse Sarkozy’s raising of the retirement age from 60 to 62. I consider that a mistake.
However, that pales in comparison to the advantage a Hollande victory would bring: a new obstacle to the Fiscal Union Treaty that the European Union would impose on the people of the EU (minus the UK and Czech Republic). In theory, the FU, with its insistence on balanced budgets and reducing debt, would be net benefit to the continent (although not enough to justify the infringement on national sovereignty). However, given the ridiculous advice the EU has given regarding “austerity” (higher taxes, lower bureaucrat salaries, but hardly any reduction in the size or scope of national governments), the FU will simply lead to a vicious cycle of tax increases that will bring in less revenue than projected because of the economic damage they will do (in the Mediterranean, this is already happening). Hollande has pledged to reject the FU in its current form, and is demanding the Treaty be changed to account for economic growth. That could cause enough friction to slow this down, or even stop it. At the very least, it could change the dynamic for the Irish referendum on the FU.
In short, the FU must be stopped, and Hollande’s election dramatically improves the chances that it will be stopped. That is the reason I support Hollande; he is the first leftist I have ever supported for national leadership. I only hope that doesn’t doom him on May 6.