France: French Way Fails

The defeat of Lionel Jospin by Jean-Marie Le Pen has given France a cold shower. Above all it is a massive wake-up call for the remote and complacent political class. For the former Jospin government and the entire political spectrum this is not easy. Real reform is the only answer and politicians don’t want to be responsible for the pain.

The World Today
3 minute READ

Brigitte Granville

Lionel Jospin presided over a strong economy, creating many new jobs, more leisure because of the 35-hour week, and some liberal reforms such as the privatisation programme. There was therefore no reason why the Socialists – with the communists – should find themselves in the awkward position of rallying the electorate to vote for incumbent president Jacques Chirac, described by that same Jospin as ‘old, tired and worn out by office’ and without a programme worthy of the name. But unemployment is still high.

French society is divided between a large public sector and a dynamic private sector, a good part of which has been driven abroad because of high taxation and endless bureaucracy, leaving the rest to bear the cost of the public sector.

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