If he wins the upcoming election, French presidential candidate François Hollande would become the first socialist President in the country since François Mitterrand's last term ended in 1995.
Hollande and incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy -- the two leading candidates -- have battled each other in poll ratings. The latest IPSOS polling placed Hollande at 29 percent versus Sarkozy at 25.5 percent.
Nonetheless, much of the French public still question whether Hollande is "présidentiable."
While Sarkozy is blunt, flamboyant, and sharp-tongued, Hollande acquired the nickname of "Flamby," the name of a brand for a caramel flan in France. He has even been compared to a "soft strawberry," by French media.
Hollande lived in the shadows of his ex-girlfriend, Segolene Royal, who ran against Sarkozy in 2007. On the night of her defeat, the couple announced their split.
Moreover, it was the charismatic Dominique Strauss-Kahn who was the clear favorite for the Socialists before Hollande.
Indeed, it was not until the rape allegations in New York that Strauss-Kahn was quickly abandoned by the Socialist party, replacing him with Hollande who went on to win the Socialist primaries in October 2011.
Critics and supporters can both agree that Hollande lacks Sarkozy's fervent charisma, but given France's economic crisis, Hollande's soft stature could be comforting.
The Telegraph quoted Francois Dubois, a supporter of Hollande.
"In a time of crisis, we need people who care about the people before their friends, other interests or the rich, like Sarkozy does. Hollande brings that human dimension," Dubois said.
Even Hollande has labeled himself the "average man" or the "normal man," with hopes of relating to the French populace.
Despite his relatively modest persona, no one can deny Hollande's political pedigree.
The socialist candidate was born to a middle class family in Rouen on August 12, 1954.
He attended two of France's elite schools, better known as the "Grandes Ecoles": Ecole National d'Administration (ENA) and Sciences Politiques.
He joined the Socialist party in 1979, participating in Mitterrand's successful presidential campaign. Hollande then became one of Mitterrand's top economic advisers.
His first singular, political achievement was winning his post as Deputy of the National Assembly for Correze, a department in south-central France, in 1988. By 2008, he became President of the General Council for Correze.
He became First Secretary of the Socialist Party in 1997 and remained so until 2008.
He also served as mayor of Tulles from 2001 to 2008.
Hollande has never held a ministerial position in the French government, further contributing to doubts about his qualifications for being president. Sarkozy himself has cited the absence of a senior government post in Hollande's resume.
Nonetheless, the Socialist Party has rallied around his campaign, with the hopes of returning to power.
Even Royal, whom Hollande left for Paris Match reporter Valerie Trierweiler, renounced her former comments that he had done nothing in the last 30 years, and now actually endorses his candidacy.
What Does He Stand For?
Despite being considered a moderate, Hollande has moved towards a much more leftist stance.
He has concentrated his platform around the youth, promising to get them out of unemployment through his "Generation Contract."
This contract would favor people under 35, forcing companies to hire a certain percentage of this youth and to match them with employees over 55 years old in a trainee program.
Hollande also supports reducing the retirement age back to 60 years old.
Most popular has been Hollande's attack on the financial industry and France's wealthy.
If elected president he promises a complete reform of the financial sector with the enactment of laws forcing banks to separate their credit operations from speculation, eliminating stock options, and scaling back bonus payments.
He also pledges to impose a 75 percent tax rate on France's millionaires -- individuals earning incomes over 1 million euros per year ($1.31 million) -- for many years to come
Hollande has aligned his platform with those suffering from the economic crisis, compared to Sarkozy who has attempted to direct the focus of the presidential campaign towards terrorism, immigration, and other social issues.
The Socialist candidate who "hates the rich," even said he would refuse living at the Elysee Palace, the equivalent of the White House.
"I will be a president as close as possible to the French," Hollande promised in a Paris Match interview.
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