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And yes, I agree that Hollande had a much, much stronger negotiating position than Zapatero or Papandreou ever had: he just chose not to fight, or rather, to roll over after merely putting a token fight. During all his political career, he's ruled through endlessly negotiating compromises; this is what allowed him to raise at the top of the PS and to secure the PS nomination for running against Sarkozy. He's genuinely convinced that, by appeasing the Medef and running orthodox fiscal & budgetary policies, then the Confidence Fairy will show up, unemployment will abate and growth will restart just in time to save his rear end next year.
Unlike you however, I don't harbor any regret for Sarkozy's years: his term has marked a new low in terms of social regression, mendacity, cronyism, using the state institutions to his own benefit and sheer corruption, even making Chirac look good (quite an achievement). Not to mention starting yet another war in Lybia with all the consequences we know, even if those paying the heavier price are mostly dark and poor (thus beneath Sarko's notice).
But objectively, Sarko was a far better president than Hollande where it counts today - on the European stage. When the crisis came, he did not wait for Berlin's approval of (admittedly too modest) stimulus measures. François Hollande has proven, as MLP actually said to Mme Merkel's face, the best governor general of the French province that Berlin could ever hope for.
Hollande is a miserable failure, not just in his destruction of the center-left as a credible governing alternative to the right, but as a human being as well.
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