“More people have heard of Mitterrands’ Labrador than of François Hollande,”
Some thoughts on Mr Hollande by Spiegel.
On the night of his victory, France’s new president seemed tired and overwhelmed by the magnitude of his new office as he pushed his way through the crowd towards the stage in Tulle, his electoral district in southwestern France.
The setting for his victory speech could hardly have been better. He stood before more than a thousand people packed into the cathedral square basked in late evening light, a picture postcard view of a rural France where everything was still right. But Hollande looked exhausted and gave a bland speech in which he repeated a few election promises. He pledged to make France a fairer place, and to help the youth. “I take the measure of the honor that’s been granted me and the challenge that awaits me,” he said.
In the weeks leading up to his victory, something had glowed in him, and it was noticeable in his television debate against Nicolas Sarkozy, where he seemed elevated by the prospect of winning. But on the evening of his triumph, the presidential aura seemed to have evaporated.
In Tulle on Sunday night, Hollande looked deadly serious and suddenly seemed small again. Like someone who has just become aware of the size of the task before him.
The president of France is, after all, an elected king. He sits on a throne above the nation. Tremendous symbolic importance is attached to his office, and it initially dwarfs everyone charged with filling it. The man about whom former president Jacques Chirac said long ago, “More people have heard of Mitterrands’ Labrador than of François Hollande,” now stands in a line with Louis XIV, Napoleon and General de Gaulle. (Full article here).