France Reacts Against Austerity

François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy will face off in a May 6 runoff election after the Socialist challenger won 28.6 percent of the vote in the first round of the French presidential elections yesterday. Sarkozy, who won 27.1 percent of the vote, was hoping a victory would give his campaign momentum, but being tied to the policies of the euro crisis will not help him—especially since Hollande is framing his challenge as a “reaction against austerity." Sarkozy is suffering presidential ratings lower than any seen since the 1950s. If Hollande wins, he would attempt to chart French economic policy away from the austere status quo set by European Union leaders, and Paul Krugman thinks a change of thinking might be just the risky prescription the still wavering European economy needs: "An Hollande victory would shake things up, and offer at least the possibility of something better."

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