Increasingly, the political hay in France is being made by the National Front, led by Marine le Pen. Her party has knocked the socialists into third place in recent by-elections and threatens to do serious damage both to them and to the UMP in next year’s municipal and European elections.
Hollande has been stumbling along a tightrope since he came into office late last year. On the one hand, he feels pressure to cater to his “pro-worker” party base by delivering the left-leaning, anti-Sarkozy policies he promised during his campaign. But these policies are bad for business and for international investors, something Hollande seems to recognize. Thus far, his attempts to split the difference have only created confusion. Unless Hollande can find some kind of balance (or unless the center-right UMP can disentangle itself from seemingly endless scandals), France’s drift to the right will likely continue.[François Hollande photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]