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Elections: France, Greece …

  • May 7th, 2012
  • Posted by EUEditor

hollande-francois-21.jpgVoting on the weekend brought change in France, and in Greece a vote against austerity bringing prospects of deadlock and paralysis.

HOLLANDE’S VICTORY

The French Socialist Party candidate, Francois Hollande (picture) defeated the conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s elections, 6.5.12, 51.9% to 48.15% in the advanced count. 

He told celebrating followers at Tours in his home region, his election would bring hope to many; he would govern France as one country, seeking to enact his feelings of pride in the country, dignity and responsibility. He said the former President deserved respect.

Mr Sarkozy conceded defeat in Paris shortly after the polls closed, declaring support for a legitimate democratic outcome, and saying interests of the country had to come before personal wishes.

Francois Hollande said the public voted for change in government and society, and he has pledged to turn down France’s government austerity program, pushing for growth policies in collaboration with European Union partners.

GREECE DEADLOCK?

In Greece, the emergency coalition of the centre-left and centre-right mainstream parties has lost half its vote, and likely its joint parliamentary majority, ending settled and solid allegiances that permitted only modest shifts in voting over several decades.

The conservative New Democracy Party led the poll with 20% of votes, an alliance of left wing parties beating the more centrist socialist party, Pasok, which got barely 15%, into third place. An extremist right wing party received 8% and will send a delegation into the parliament.

The coalition government had pushed on with severe austerity measures imposed on Greece in return for support to meet national debt, from the special funds set up by the EU. The lay-offs and removal of government services generated poverty and fear, bringing industrial trouble and ongoing conflict in the streets.

RUSSIA IN DISPUTE

In Moscow, riot police broke up crowds of demonstrators and arrested leaders of the opposition in protests up to 100000 strong against the inauguration of President Vladimir Putin on Monday (7.5.12).

Mr Putin was elected in a single round of voting on 4.3.12, with the Communist Party his closest rivals.

During previous terms as President and then Prime Minister, in his swap-over agreement with chief supporter Dmitry Medvedev, the former KGB security officer earned a reputation for bringing order to Russia after its traumatic exit from Soviet communism; he broke selected oligarchs, and attacked and displaced opposition voices in the mass media; in the process building up by far the strongest, if only base of support that could extend across the whole country.  

Restoring shreds of Sovier power abroad, he has capitalised on high demand and prices for oil and gas, imposing an occasional squeeze on Winter supplies to Europe; resisted any compromise in his opposition to the construction of anti-missile defences in Eastern Europe, and witheld support at the United Nations for international intervention against violent acts by the government of Syria against its opponents –insisting on no threat to “state sovereignity” as his first condition for cooperation.

OTHER VOTES

In other voting on the weekend in Europe, elections in Serbia produced a swing towards the opposition, a likely check on moves to join the EU.

Municipal elections in Italy are being seen as a test of national government measurs to deal with financial crisis and major debt.

  

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