Last night at 8pm not-your-time, two hours after the Belgian and Swiss media had already published election results and 30 minutes after Nicolas Sarkozy deleted his Facebook page, the French media announced that socialist François Hollande (great NYT bio) will be the next president of France. France is a country of 1,765,983,854 laws that are completely vague and contradict each other so that everyone can figure out how to break them, and it has rules about disclosing election results, and for some reason French media followed those rules to the letter. And now France will swear in Francois Hollande sometime between May 13 and 15, because French people like to be uncertain and tortured.
At exactly one minute past 8pm, the world outside burst into celebration. Horns honked, firecrackers popped and people cheered. The tradition for French election after-parties is for the left to gather at La Bastille (the start of the French peasant revolution) and the right to gather at Place de la Concorde (where the guillotine was first erected in order to behead French royalty). Sarkozy called off his celebration at Concorde way before the final announcement. In contrast, so many people showed up at the Bastille, they had to shut down the nearby Metro stations.
Meanwhile, in the underground Twitter world of #RadioLondres, franetizens knew as early as 1pm that Sarkozy had been creamed in the French island elections (where they keep all the blahs) and had been dwarf-tossing and Rolex-pawning since they knew the final outcome at 5pm. During the first run-off election on April 22, #RadioLondres was decidedly left-wing (because the right wing worldwide is slow to be cool) and trashed Sarkozy with gleeful creativity in the subversive spirit of May 1968. But by last night’s final election round, the righties entered the fray, doing what righties always do, predicting the imminent demise of France, Europe and the whole entire world.
This will be the return of 68ers, the sexual and yéyés revolution. Everyone will run naked; drug addict in the streets. (OK, so maybe Renaud Bongiovanni was joking but since he’s a self-proclaimed part-time Bobo, it’s hard to tell. He also supplied an explanatory TOTALLY NSFW photo of sexual revolutionaries.)
We are in the shit #endoftheworld
End of strong France. Hello to dead France.
Tweeting from my toilet, I am not clairvoyant but I see the future of France in its bottom.
Tremble, middle class. The soviet tanks unload…
Whiners! There are many myths about France being a socialist country. But it’s really a capitalist state with a socialist heart. Private enterprise dominates the economy and very few entities are nationalized. EDF, the power company, is a private corporation (although the French government owns a majority of shares). The French post office is also a private company. The French government owns the main TV channels but there are plenty of private competitors. They also own all the rail transport and the prison system (one and the same thing). That’s about it. As far as the myth about France’s extremely high tax rates supporting the social safety net, that’s also a big myth. French corporate tax rates are 33.33% (US = 40%). As for individuals, your Paris-based Wonketeer did some difficult math on her paycheck and she pays 20% in taxes, which includes social security, retirement, workplace accident insurance and universal healthcare. So, there.
A few things that Hollande declared in his campaign speeches made the righties tear their hair out. He says he will challenge Sarkozy’s and the European Union’s austerity strategy (because it’s working so well in the UK, Greece, Spain…) and he wants to raise taxes on the rich (income > 1M Euros) to 75%. His tax position sent France’s 1% into paroxysms of doom-saying, with the most popular talking point, “If Hollande wins, all of the rich people will leave France. Then who will pay for the poor, hein?” Thus, the most popular picture posted on #RadioLondres last night was of a border crossing between France and Switzerland, clogged with red Ferraris.
Also too and in conclusion, with Sarkozy’s election loss, he loses his immunity from criminal prosecution. And just three days before the final election, new damning evidence came to light and an investigation has begun in the French courts about his alleged campaign contribution from Libya. Bummer!