Yesterday I spent close to three hours watching the debate between the two finalists in the campaign for the French presidency, Nicholas Sarkozy the current President and François Hollande the candidate of the Parti socialiste. I have to say that in their own way both were impressive, thoroughly in charge of their dossiers, well informed, passionate defenders of their positions and a credit to French politics.There were a number of aggressive exchanges with M.Sarkozy on the defensive but also denouncing Hollande for distorting his position and the facts. M.Hollande mostly effectively repulsed these claims.
I prefer most of the positions advanced by François Hollande though I wish he were much bolder when it comes to escaping from the deadening hand of austerity and deficit hysteria. M.Sarkozy is clearly an embattled President and far too willing out of electoral necessity to shake hands with the devil of ultra rightist anti-immigrant politics in an effort to save his Presidency. He looks as a consequence likely to fall victim to the electoral backlash to prolonged high unemployment, economic depression and public anger over possible corruption and distrust of his bling bling style. But he will go down fighting to the end, a formidable politician of the centre right. The polls still show M.Hollande a decisive victor but the results may well be closer.
The latest rolling poll shows the gap between the two candidates narrowing to 53 % for Hollande to 47 % for Sarkozy a gap of about 1.5 million votes if there are about the same number of voters as in the first round. Still a close election if the polls are accurate.
I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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