16 February 2014, 17:52

Francois Hollande’s approval rating sets new anti-record

Francois Hollande’s approval rating sets new anti-record

The approval rating of French President Francois Hollande has hit new low. The number of people in France dissatisfied with the policy, which is being implemented by Francois Hollande has reached 79 per cent this month, as the results of the public opinion poll, which is conducted every month by the Institute for Social Studies for the newspaper “Journal du Dimanche “, that were released Sunday, have shown.

As compared with last month, Hollande’s popularity level has dropped 2 per cent this month. Only 20 per cent of the French people are voicing their support for the French President this month.

The number of opponents of the French head of state has grown 2 per cent in the same period. 39 per cent of respondents said that they were “rather dissatisfied than satisfied” with the work of Francois Hollande. Another 40 per cent said they “are strongly dissatisfied” with his policy.

What makes French angry?

On Sunday thousands of people took to the streets of Paris in a "Day of Anger" to protest against the policy of their President Francois Hollande. What started as peaceful protest then turned violent as protesters, mostly right-wing clashed with police. Police said at least 150 people were arrested and 19 police officers were injured in the clashes. The Sky News said the number of detentions and injuries is higher than in the previous protests against Mr Hollande and domestic policies.

What exactly is the domestic policy of the current government and how successful is it? What makes the French so angry?

This is something we are discussing with our guest speakers French political analyst Alexei Prokopiev and Dr. Aurélien Mondon, Lecturer in French Studies, at the University of Bath, UK.

Alexei Prokopiev:

There were not that many people. The organizers, as always, say that it was more than 100 000 people. Of course it is not true. The police say that it was about 17 000 people. It is not true either. I think there were 30 000 people maximum. So, a lot less than the organizers say and a bit more than the police says.

The parliamentary right-wing opposition mainly ignored this demonstration and that’s probably why it wasn’t so well-organized and there weren’t so many people. They ignored it because there were a lot of radical movements participating. Anti-Semitic slogans have been shouted and also some racist expressions.

The main organizers were the radical right wing movement and the fundamentalist Catholic organization. This protest was not typical at all. During the last several years there were not many demonstrations of this kind. But probably with the economic crisis and after the demonstrations last year against the law authorizing same sex marriage there is a kind of revival in France of this kind of movements, but it has not to be exaggerated.

The main population, as all opinion polls show, is not attracted by these extremist moments. They criticize Hollande mainly for the economic situation and high unemployment rate. This critics is not the same as of the far-right movements.

Dr. Aurélien Mondon:

Hollande was elected to do something different, to do something that would make France move forward. And I think lots of people have felt that he’s been disappointing on this front. Yet, at the same time, some important pieces of legislation and quite symbolic ones have been passed. And these have angered people on the right and on the conservative sides of politics in France.

My feeling is that the situation of anger in France and this Day of Anger that we had was not necessarily because of what the Government has done, but because of the way it has portrayed what it has done and what it has not done, which has alienated its supporters on the left.

At the moment it is true that at the economic front very little has been done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Government is not doing anything, but in the current situation in France I think it is really hard to do much quickly to resolve the crisis.

If unemployment goes down – that could be very positive for Francois Hollande and it could turn the tide, but if it stays as high as it is and continues to rise, then there will be a problem in France and for Hollande. And that is sure to benefit the right.

Voice of Russia

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