Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Aubry Out

Martine Aubry will not join the new government. She makes it pretty clear that she's miffed:
"Nous avons discuté de cela lundi avec François Hollande. Il m'a dit qu'il avait fait le choix de Jean-Marc Ayrault. Nous sommes convenus que, dans cette configuration, ma présence au gouvernement n'aurait pas de sens."
She describes the choice of Ayrault as both "a political choice" and one that is perfectly comprehensible given Ayrault's closeness to Hollande. So what are we supposed to infer from this? That the "political choice" of the party's candidate is such that the party's leader cannot envision herself as part of his government? Or that Martine is a prima donna who, having already served as no. 2 in Jospin's government, as she reminds the interviewer, will not settle for anything less than no. 1? Neither interpretation is very flattering to Aubry.

So Hollande will have to build his own base of support without any help from the leader of his party. He seems to have chosen his course for accomplishing that goal: he will demonstrate his modesty, eschew the monarchical trappings of the presidency, and reach out to ordinary people. The symbolism is good for now: the press is commenting abundantly on the modesty, sobriety, and seriousness of the new president and contrasting these qualities with the grandiosity, pugnacity, and erratic behavior of his predecessor. But a general needs to be able to keep his troops in line, and Aubry on day two already seems to have chosen her own drummer and headed off in her own direction.

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