Wednesday, 16 May 2012

France gets a parity government – but it’s not a revolution

During the election campaign, François Hollande promised that he would install a parity government, although he added “which is not to say that [women] will have the same responsibilities”.  How true this turned out to be.  He honoured his promise of a parity government, with 50% (9/18) of the members of cabinet being women, and 50% (17/34) of the government being women after all other members were added.  That’s a first for France, and for this reason alone, this is a landmark event for women in French politics that is worthy of celebration.  He also honoured his promise to reinstate a women’s ministry, with its newly appointed minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, holding a cabinet portfolio.  However, women should not be popping the champagne corks just yet.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Hollande wins the French presidency - what next?

Once the Socialists have finished fêting their first presidential victory since Mitterrand’s re-election in 1988, the big questions will need to be asked.  What will be the repercussions of Hollande’s victory for the future of France?  Here, I address five key themes:  the contrast between the outgoing and incoming French leaders; the key figures in Hollande’s presidency; the key domestic and foreign policy implications of a Socialist victory; the implications for the forthcoming legislative elections; and the repercussions for Sarkozy’s UMP party.