In the past two weeks, the people of France chose their new president and the Greeks voted for a parliament. EM asked Greek and French students how happy (or unhappy) they are with the recent political developments.

In France, socialist Hollande has been elected the new president. According to two French Erasmus students, his presidency is not the best solution to the current problematic situation in the country.

‘A vote against Hollande, not for Sarkozy’

Arthur Pfalzgraf, a 20-year-old, second-year IBCoM student, says he voted for the previous president Sarkozy, as he really didn’t want Hollande to win: “It really was more of a vote against Hollande, as I don’t really like Sarkozy either.” Cyril Renaud, a 26-year-old RSM Master student, also voted for Sarkozy, because he thinks Hollande’s planned expenses are unrealistically high.

Guillaume Corlay, a 20-year-old IBA student, voted for the new socialist president Hollande. He believes that at this point, no president can immediately solve the problems in France, but he thinks the election of Hollande is a good starting point. Guillaume hopes the socialist party will also win the legislative elections next month, as this would mean that the government and President will be on the same side.

No voting for Greek students

French students could let family vote for them while they were abroad, but Greek students did not have this option. Dimitris Gozgos, a 23-year-old RSM Master student from Greece, says he would have voted for the Democratic Liberals if he could have. His vote would also have been a strategic vote against the Extremist Party, whose influence he wishes to limit in the next parliament.

However, the political situation in Greece remains very unstable, as politicians have not yet succeeded to form a coalition between the elected parties. Re-elections might be held this summer, which would give Dimitris the chance to vote: “I’ll probably vote for the Socialist Party, that was led by Papandreou, because I think they are capable of turning things around. They are the ones that actually made an effort, although maybe in the wrong direction at times. At this point, they seem to be better aware of what needs to be done.”

Stay calm

Many Greek and French people have lost faith in their politicians altogether, after various political failures, scandals, and the ongoing economic crisis. Even though this high level of scepticism towards politicians exists among many, students think it’s important to vote and to remain up-to-date. While studying abroad, these French and Greek students continue to pay attention to politics of their own country as they feel it will influence their future. Cyril: “Students should be involved in politics, at least by voting. You can’t complain about the current situation if you didn’t vote.” IS