With François Hollande’s election on Sunday as the next president of France, the next big decision point will be the president-elect’s appointment of a candidate for prime minister.
The designee will take a primary role in the upcoming June 10 and June 17 parliamentary elections and if, as is traditional, the winning presidential candidate’s party wins those elections with a majority in the Assemblée nationale, Hollande’s designee will become the head of government.
Outgoing president Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right Gaullist Union pour un mouvement populaire, together with affiliated groups, together hold 345 seats in the current legislature, to just 227 for the left, including just 186 seats for Hollande’s Parti socialiste. While it is typical in France for the winning presidential candidate’s party to win the election, which comes less than a month after Hollande’s decisive victory in the presidential election, Marine Le Pen’s Front national — which won almost 19% of the vote in the first round of the presidential election — will be running very hard to win seats as well, especially given the aimless state of the now-decapitated UMP, which will be somewhat driftless without Sarkozy’s leadership.
Under France’s two-round parliamentary election system, a candidate wins over 50% of the vote in the first round (and at least 25% support of all registered voters in a precinct), he or she is elected. If not, each candidate with over 12.5% support of all registered voters (or, alternatively, the top two vote-winners if no two candidates have received 12.5%) advances to the second round, where the candidate with the most votes is elected to parliament.
As such, Hollande’s choice will be the first important signal that he provides to France, to Germany, to the rest of Europe and to the debt market as to the direction he hopes to take the French government over the next five years.
With 2002 presidential candidate Ségolène Royal — Hollande’s former partner and the mother of his children — tipped to become the president of the Assemblée nationale if the PS wins the June election, and with one-time presidential frontrunner and former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn battling legal accusations on both sides of the Atlantic, two main candidates have emerged in the media since Hollande’s election — Martine Aubry, Hollande’s rival for the PS presidential nomination and first secretary of the PS, and Jean-Marc Ayrault, president of the PS parliamentary group in the Assemblée nationale. In addition, former prime minister Laurent Fabius, Hollande campaign manager Pierre Moscovici, former Civil Service minister Michel Sapin and campaign communications chief Manuel Valls have also been mentioned as potential prime ministers.
So who are these potential prime ministers, how would they be received and how likely are their appointments? Continue reading From Aubry to Ayrault: who will Hollande choose as France’s next prime minister?