Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reading Tea Leaves

So what does it all mean? A proponent of the "Non" in 2005 as foreign minister? A glib baratineur at Economy and Finance, arguably the most important post in this government? A woman of color from l'outre-mer at Justice? An advocate of "de-globalization" at Redressement productif, which ought to mean finding a way to ensure French competitiveness in the global arena but under Montebourg might well mean finding a way to keep failing businesses on life support. A Green, Duflot, at "Equality of Territories," whatever that is, and a specialist in public finance, Nicole Bricq, at ecology. Sapin, supposedly so close to Hollande, way down the list at labor, when he had been touted for Economy and Finance.

It's not necessarily a good idea to try to read policy choices from personnel choices, but it's not necessarily a bad idea either. The parity promise was kept. The Greens got a bone, the Front de Gauche did not. Moscovici's nomination provides a conduit from DSK, persona non grata but still probably the best economic head on the left, to the government. Hollande owed Fabius nothing but paid him handsomely anyway, a choice I don't understand. It will take some time to absorb all this. For the moment, I'm not thrilled. I would have preferred to see a frank recognition that the euro crisis is the paramount issue of the day. I don't see that priority reflected in the composition of the government.

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