May 18, 2006


France's de Villepin May not Be Out, But He's Definitely Down: French Prime Minister de Villepin may have survived a vote of no confidence but his own party has turned its back on him - more than just a few members failed to show up for what could have been a public show of solidarity. (Stefan Simons, 5/18/06, Der Spiegel)

His government is entangled in a spiteful internicine battle and he's already been on the ropes after weeks of new revelations in the Clearstream scandal. Now, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has also been disavowed by his own party.

On Tuesday, de Villepin was put up for a vote of no confidence in the French parliament, the Assemblee Nationale. It came as no surprise that the prime minister survived the vote -- after all, his party, the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), has an absolute majority in parliament with 369 of the 577 seats. In the end, just 190 parliamentarians sided with the Socialists.

But despite his success, Villepin is a wounded man: instead of a demonstration of solidarity amidst the public display of mistrust, more than just a few UMP seats were left vacant in the crescent of the national assembly -- and some parliamentarians even left the room as the prime minister approached the podium. Defense Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie and de Villepin's toughest rival within the party, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, arrived late at Bourbon Palace.

Just getting rid of him will be nice, but one would rather send him canoeing with Lewis Medlock.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 18, 2006 6:04 AM

It's fun to watch all those anti-Bush foreign leaders crash and burn.

Posted by: ic at May 18, 2006 5:57 PM