France Needs a Leader, Not a President

How to perfect our Republic

Liberty Leading the People (Eugène Delacroix)

France is going through a serious crisis of identity. Until recently, the founding principles of Liberte, Egalite et Fraternite were the beating heart of the 5th Republic of France, protected by the Constitution of 1958. These principles are a legacy from the Enlightenment and proudly carried in time through the French Revolution into our century. For a long time, being French meant respecting a certain idea of life, where no one is left behind and that above all sanctifies dignity. To fulfill that vision, we built a strong welfare contact that guaranties education, culture, pension and healthcare for all. If The American Dream is the freedom to pursue happiness, the French dream is simply the right to enjoy life. One is an aspiration to financial success, the other is a moral covenant.

On May 7th and June 18th 2017, France lived up to its founding principles and rejected the National Front once more. But this time, the country remains divided. This time, our identity is under attack. The same forces that led to the Brexit and Trump have spread over Europe. The growing fear of job insecurity and cultural insecurity fostered by globalization and immigration have put the French model to the test. The two main political parties (Parti Socialiste and Les Republicains) have failed to address these threats and decided either to minimize them, or used them to draw us further apart. Both approaches are wrong and reflect a profound lack of leadership.

Today, France needs a leader, not a manager. In these time of uncertainty, it is critical for President Macron, to revive or re-define a vision for the country. A powerful message that lays down the core values of our identity upon which we can build a better Republic. The burden of managing the country, as the Constitution warrants, falls on the appointed Government who is responsible for writing and implementing the public policies. Hence the importance of naming a Prime Minister capable of working across party lines and with a new majority largely elected for its lack of experience.

Once discharged from the responsibility of forming a government, the President should rise above the arena and continue delivering that message, educating the people, and keeping the debate going. The voters need to feel that their voice is being heard and the President himself should listen. Every day, the message should be front and center, based on values and filled with stories from the people. A message design with simple but powerful ideas, that we cannot solve our problem if we don’t solve them together, unless we perfect our Republic by understanding that we may have different stories but we hold common hopes. We want a better future for us and our children. This vision should lay the foundation upon which we build this better future. A safe place, where we all come together in times of uncertainty and where we may finally all call our self French.