May 5, 2007


Sarkozy set to unleash new French revolution: The right's candidate could canter home in today's election - but that will do little to heal deep divisions still raging in France. As hope for Socialist Segolene Royal slips away, Jason Burke finds a nation polarised (Jason Burke, May 6, 2007, The Observer)

[S]arkozy, 52, one of the most controversial and divisive figures of recent French political history, remains likely to replace outgoing President Jacques Chirac at the Elysee Palace. His slogan throughout months of campaigning has been 'Together, everything becomes possible'.

'That ... is the least you can say,' muttered Loïc Delaurens, 29, a newspaper seller near the Place de la Republique in Paris, who voted Communist in the first round of voting two weeks ago. Sarkozy's team has already started working on the formation of a government and planning legislation, sources close to the former Interior Minister admitted. 'We'll get the parliamentary elections out of the way [in six weeks] and then really get moving,' said one member yesterday.

The campaign has been extraordinarily bitter, reflecting a polarised and divided people who know they are making a historic choice between very different individuals and very different programmes. 'If Sarkozy has the will and the ability to turn his announced policies into reality, he will turn France upside down,' said Ivan Rioufol, a leader writer at the right-wing Le Figaro newspaper. Royal, 53, also provokes fierce emotions, attacked by the right as an incompetent spendthrift representative of an unreformed left responsible for decades of cultural, social and economic decline. But the career politician, daughter of an army officer and educated at elite universities, remains far less controversial than her rival, the son of an immigrant seen as an outsider even by the establishment right.

For those who are voting against him, Sarkozy, whose electoral strategy has been to hunt votes amid the third of French voters who profess a 'sympathy' with the ideas of the extreme right, is 'the abomination of abominations'. 'This is a man who shook the hand of George Bush, who will destroy the French social model, who will institute a police state,' said Geraldine Chene, a Lyon-based Socialist activist.

Hasten the day.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 5, 2007 8:15 PM

Say what you want about France, and I've had little good to say about it myself, but I think OJ can agree that if the son of immigrants can become the leader of the nation it's not all bad. I wish them luck.

Bottom line is that another anti-American euro leader will be replaced by the most pro-American one in the field. Only Spain and Italy have bucked this trend. Sweden, Germany and tomorrow France have followed it.

Posted by: JAB at May 5, 2007 10:00 PM

To quote Sideshow Bob: "...deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king."

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 6, 2007 3:00 PM
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