Sweden’s Reinfeldt warns Hollande cannot afford election promises

Sweden’s prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was in the midst of a debate with opposition leader Stefan Löfven when news of Francois Hollande’s win came through.

Reinfeldt said he congratulated Hollande on his win, but warned that he had put forward spending promises that ran the risk of not being affordable.

He noted that France’s sovereign debt is about 90% of GDP.

Analysis of Hollande’s win by Swedish centre-left newspaper Dagens Nyheter meanwhile suggested that Europe “will be holding its breath” after the lurch to the left represented by the near unprecedented switch at the top of French politics – only once before in the history of the fifth republic has a sitting president not won a second term in office.

However, it added that the reception was not as jubilant as when Francois Mitterrand won for the Socialists in 1981. 

“Hollande is not a [leader] of the French left of the same calibre as Mitterrand. The key explanation to the election win instead is a deep and broad dissatisfaction with the departing French president.”

The paper added: “The change of power leads, however, to several tricky questions about economic policy. Hollande has gone into the election on proposals that could lead…to Europe holding its breath.”

“Will he push through all the tax increases and expensive reforms that he promised during the campaign? That could seriously jeopardise the country’s economy and thereby influence others. And if Hollande tears up the EU financial treaty it will mean big problems.”

Dagens Nyheter notes that the biggest challenge would be to convince German chancellor Angela Merkel that the inflation target should not be holy for the European Central Bank. “Not even the other half of Merkozy – Nicolas Sarkozy- managed that.”

Swedish centre-right newspaper Svenska Dagbladet chooses to focus on the large number of voters who voted for Hollande, but only because they wanted Sarkozy out rather than because they support his policies.

Quoting a voter in an area of Paris called Belleville, the paper suggests that Hollande could see his popularity wane sharply if the economic crisis facing France and the rest of the eurozone continues to force austerity measures.

Meanwhile Hollande’s first call to any foreign leader was expected to be to Angela Merkel. Financial markets are less likely to react, the paper said, because despite the recovery in the opinion polls shortly before the election it was apparent that Sarkozy was unlikely to win.

As to the day’s other election for members of Greece’s parliament, Svenska Dagbladet simply notes that 40 years of two-party politics lies in ruins, with seven parties now expected to take up seats.

Up to 28 of the 300 seats could go to a neo-Nazi party, although the paper quotes one Athens pensioner saying that this was the result of protest votes, and “does not mean that 8% of Greeks are Nazis.”

 

 

 

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Jonathan Boyd
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