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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le couple exécutif en chute libre

by Mina Kaci

French President and PM in Free Fall

Translated Tuesday 13 November 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

The governing majority is worried at the new fall in confidence ratings for the head of state and the prime minister.

An 11% drop after six months in office. The TNS-Sofres poll, published in le Figaro Magazine on Nov. 4, reveals a new fall for President François Hollande, with only 36% of the French expressing confidence in him, as against 41% in October and 55% in June.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is being dragged down by the president’s fall. Ayrault’s confidence rating has fallen to 34%, as against 41% in October. Thus mistrust is growing with regard to the President and the Prime Minister, who, flying by the seat of their pants while being conciliatory to the bosses’ demands, are close to becoming divorced from a population which seems increasingly skeptical as to the effectiveness of current policy in solving the economic crisis.

But doubt exists even within the governing majority. Some are demanding that the government adopt a more pedagogical approach; while others want it to reassure the French more, and still others want to “set a new course” because, Socialist senator André Vallini explained, blaming it all on Sarkozy “is no longer enough.”

The government must get a grip on itself quickly, all the more so as the ratings for a future role for most of the political leaders who figured on the poll are falling. On the other hand, “while [the ratings] are stable [for extreme right-wing leader Marine Le Pen], they place her among the personalities who are most expected to play a future role,” the pollsters noted. The president of the National Front ranks sixth on the list of politicians whom the French hope to see play a big role in the course of the coming months and years.

Jean-Luc Mélanchon places tenth and has lost five percentage points, and this poses a question for the Left Front. How can the Left Front put forward a leftist voice which is distinct from government policy while simultaneously appearing as a credible alternative? Up until now, the Left Front has not come up with a strategy that makes its place on the political spectrum understandable.

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