Here’s a sampling of online front pages from 8:30 the night of the election (Sunday May 6). Liberation has the best headline, riffing on a lyric from the French national anthem. Sarkozy’s unpopularity has led him to be one of the very few examples of an incumbent not being reelected. Even popping out a baby, which appeals to sentimental types, couldn’t help. His last-minute courting of the National Front backfired when the right-wing party’s leader, Marine Le Pen, declined to endorse him.
Though it is good news for the left, my far-left friends remind me that Hollande is so center-left as to have opinions not so indistinguishable from many of Sarkozy’s. “He won by not being Sarkozy,” an American journalist observed. Also, one Communist friend told me, many of the European countries in financial crisis are led by Socialists. So…not to rain on anyone’s parade… but plus ca change, plus ca might be the same merde.