Hollande has promised to increase spending, tax the wealthy, withdraw trops from Afghanistan this year and " a new direction", of setting main policies, moving away from the day-to day micro-managing of Sarkozy (usually the President is not as involved as Sarkozy was, leaving himself some wiggle room, so that if policies fail, the Premier and Cabinet take the fall. In this case, however Sarkozy quite rightly got the blame). In vain he moved more and more to the right, "wearing" the Tricoleur, as the champion/protector/defender of French identity and culture against the 'advancing hordes" of Muslims and their halal meat and other immigrants from Europe and Africa, blaming them for France's problems. It failed and hopefully that narrow-minded poison had had its day.
Hollande has to act quickly and show clearly that his "new direction" is more than an election ruse. Domestically he needs to put his cabinet in place, especially his Finance minister and follow through with a budget to increase spending, end budget cuts as well as cuts in services and reduce taxes on the middle class while raising taxes on the wealthy. The French constitution gives the President wide-ranging and powerful powers, from appointing the Premier and the Cabinet to emergency powers, where he can rukle by decrees, but Hollande has to be careful how and if he uses these powers (Charles de Gaulle tried to in 1968-69 and he was forced out of office). Elections to the National Assembly is in June, so there is no honemoon period. He has to act and do so quickly.
These policies will bring him up against the German-dominated austerity measures in the euro-zone. This will not suit Angela Merkel, who had found a friend in Sarkozy and who has her own domestic politics to worry about. She had led the drive against the euro-debt with budget cuts, increase taxes, reduced services and reduced spending. It will be interesting to see the dynamics/ reltionship unfold. Don't expect it to be as cosy.
Hollande has to deal with President Obama on the issue of NATO and of French troops in Afghanistan. He has the Group of Eight meeting on May 18-19, where economic matters will be discussed and then there is the NATO summit meeting May20-21, where he is expected to announce the pull-out of French troops by the end of the year. He will be pressured to change his mind. Merkel in Europe and Obama in Chicago, two weeks after election. Whew and good luck.
Meanwhile in Greece, the two major parties have suffered demoralising defeats. Socialist PASOK, which in 2009 won 44% of the votes got only 13.6% and Conservative New Democracy 20%, while the Left Coalition got 16.2% and the extreme right Golden Dawn 7%, which will see it get seats in parliament for the first time since the military dictatorship of 1974. This is a disaster. The best that can be expected is a weak, fractured and fractious coalition going nowhere. " The Perirclean principle of happy versatility, running down the streets of Athens"....mob rule or as we call it...democracy at work.