From the limited information I've heard about Holland as a candidate, even the short description you gave in this thread, I am completely for Holland winning.
Tightening your belt during a recession by cutting important benefits for the lower and middle class never works, it only makes the problem worse. When times are tough, that's when those programs are needed the most. The way you get out of a recession is to stimulate the economy with spending targeted at the lower and middle class workers, the consumers. When they have a little extra money in their pockets, they spend most of it buying things, whereas if the wealthy has a little extra money in their pockets, they let it sit in their bank account with the rest of their fortune until they find an investment opportunity they would have gone for anyway.
We've seen this over and over; cutting taxes and giving breaks to the wealthy doesn't generate any new jobs, so I'm very happy to hear that there's a candidate willing to break out of that vicious and stupid cycle. I just hope he doesn't turn out like Obama, who promises during his campaings to raise taxes on the wealthy, and then leaves them alone when he's in office.
As for some of the specifics you mentioned:
Raising the minimum wage. Great, this goes in line with stimulating the consumer class. An extra couple of euros in their pocket at the end of the month means that there will be an extra couple of euros spent buying groceries, restaurant food, french pastries, striped polo shirts, berets, etc.
Hiring more teachers. Cool. I don't know the situation in France, but it's known that the number of students per teacher is a great indicator of how well those students will do in their educational career. I'm all for more teachers. Even if it'll cost money in the short term, having more teachers and smaller class sizes is going to pay off in the long term.
Lowering the retirement age back down to 60. While 60 seems to me like a low retirement age, it's seems to have worked for the French so far. The age of 60 is also only for those who have worked for 41 years, so if you've worked from the age of 19 without breaking to go to College or anything like that, then you can retire at 60, otherwise it's still 62. Seems to me like it is a gift to non-college educated workers, people who have a shorter life expectancy overall, the people who are hurt the most by having the retirement age raised. Then there's the benefit of renewing the workforce; people retiring earlier will allow the younger generation a greater opportunity to enter into the workforce.
So far, so good, but there are some other things that I like about this guy's plattform:
Separation of lending and investment in the banking system. Fantastic. This is precisely what caused the financial meltdown of 2008, so I'm extremely happy that one of the largest economies in the world is going in that direction.
Withdrawing French troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012. And not a moment too soon.
Reducing nuclear energy from 75% to 50% of France's electricity generation, replacing it with renewable energy. I would have liked it to be more than that, but it's a great start, especially from the largest nuclear power country in the world (as a percentage of total electricity generation). Hopefully, France can lead the way for reducing nuclear power and increasing renewable energy.
Gay marriage and gay adoption. Suck it, conservatives. Tide of history.
So yeah, if I were French, I'd vote for Hollande in a heartbeat. As I'm writing this, it looks like Hollande is going to win the first round of voting, with Sarkozy coming in second. The Guardian.
Here's to hoping that this will be the first of many European countries throwing their right wing governments out on their ear.