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Is dullness Hollande’s main asset?

April 24th, 2012

After the first round of the presidential elections in France, analysts in Budapest believe Socialist candidate François Hollande will probably beat incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round, on May 6. Meanwhile, they agree in finding him a surprisingly dull and grey figure.

In a front page editorial, Nápszabadság asks almost incredulously whether “that clerk-like party official, lacking any charisma or experience in public administration can really become President of France. He certainly has a magic weapon though, the left-wing daily remarks, namely the immensely unpopular Nicolas Sarkozy himself. “But is that sufficient to govern a country?”

In his blog entitled ‘A Time of Boredom,’ Ferenc Kumin, a moderate right-wing analyst thinks it would be high time for the Left in Europe to come forward with something new in the theory and practice of government, after the demise of the “Third Way” and the “Neue Mitte” (New Centre) in Britain and Germany respectively. But nothing of the kind has been offered by François Hollande, he suggests. The Socialist candidate has emerged from the first round as the net favourite simply because people have suffered the crisis for long enough. And since the present difficulties are closely associated in their minds with the exuberant and unorthodox activism of their right-wing president, they may favour a dull personality to replace him. Kumin ends his comment on an ironic note: if this is the way the wind is blowing, the Hungarian opposition has an easy job ahead – it just has to find a dull enough leader to follow.”

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