Star’s Fehmi Koru says both Sarkozy and Merkel came to power when the US was in a process of being redesigned. Former US President George W. Bush regarded himself as a Caesar and his aim was to form a new Roman Empire. Worried that their countries would fall behind when the US was getting more and more powerful, the French and the Germans elected pro-American politicians. But now that Bush’s term has ended, it is no surprise that these pro-American politicians have lost their raison d’être. Koru notes that the UK’s Labour Party is the one that paid most for its support of Bush when it lost a great deal of votes in 2010’s elections and now the same thing is happening in France and most probably it will also happen in Germany in next year’s elections. “Another outcome of these changes is that Sarkozy and Merkel were not powerful and charismatic enough to compete with the legacies of those who had been sitting in their seats previously. Sarkozy was not that bright compared to Jacques Chirac or François Mitterrand and David Cameron in the UK was nothing like Winston Churchill or Margaret Thatcher. I think democratic systems have started to produce more ordinary and less influential leaders,” Koru says.
Milliyet’s Hasan Cemal thinks that behind Hollande’s victory is his promise of normalization. His statement, “I am going to be a normal president,” symbolizes his aim of getting rid of Sarkozy’s policies centering on xenophobia, racial differences and anti-Islamic sentiment. But, Cemal says, it is not only France but the whole of Europe that is under the influence of a severe economic crisis, an anti-Islamic attitude and nationalist discourse. Rightists are at the forefront of the anti-Islamic and nationalist discourses, but a great number of leftist intellectuals also propagate these ideas under the guise of secularism and feminist egalitarian discourses. So, seeing such a conjuncture in Europe, the “normal presidency” Hollande has promised sounds very hopeful, Cemal argues.