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The French presidential election 2007
No surprise: Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round

Added on April 23, 2007
The official end results of the first round of the French presidential election 2007 credit Sarkozy with 31.1%, Royal with 25.8%, Bayrou with 18.6% and Le Pen with 10.5%.

Article added on April 22, 2007
The first round of the French presidential election 2007 has offered no surprise: the socialist candidate Ségolène Royal and the liberal-conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy will advance to the run-off on May 6, 2007.

According to the exit polls of the 22nd of April, Nicolas Sarkozy won some 29.8% of the votes, Ségolène Royal 25.6%, the UMP centrist François Bayrou 18.5% and the FN Right-wing leader Jean-Marie Le Pen 11.3%.

The aspiring presidents gave us some hard times during this superficial, American style campaign. Among the top candidates, Ségolène Royal deserves the unflattering lead when it comes to signs of incompetence.

Her appeal to women to vote for her just because she is a woman was one of the low points of her campaign. Unfortunately for her, it will be counterproductive because it is against France's Republican tradition, which treats all French citizens as equals, regardless of their "race", religion or gender. Sarkozy was wiser when he stated that he had no particular message for women.

Especially at the beginning of her campaign, Ségolène Royal entertained observers on almost a daily basis with her Ségolènades, a endless series of rhetorical blunders. Endorsing independence for Quebec, interdicting Iran the pacific use of nuclear energy and stating that the Taliban still rule Afghanistan are three of the best known. Wearing a white dress in China, where this is the color of mourning [added on April 23, 2007: and bad luck], was another. Considering that instead of speaking of human rights (droits de l'homme in French), she chose one of her (in-) famous neologisms, droits humains, in order to accommodate the Chinese regime, the white dress was appropriate. [Added on April 23, 2007: When praising the Chinese legal system, she] ignored the existence of the Laogoi, the Chinese concentration and forced labor camps, as well as the mass executions and the arbitrary legal system of the Communist regime. Ségolène Royal has proven more than once that she does not have what it takes to become the next head of state of France.

In her campaign video Désirs d'avenir, Royal paid tribute to François Mitterrand, although, not so long ago, she had lauded Tony Blair and the economic merits of New Labour. For people with a short memory, Mitterrand become France's president with the help of the Communists and tried to nationalize the French banks.

Royal's socialist recipes, contrary to the assertion in her campaign video, will not allow France to lower the high unemployment rate among its youth. Only liberal reforms of the labor market will do so.

Unfortunately, in France, the majority of the young people dreams of a life-long job as a state employee. What a perspective! No wonder many dynamic French leave the country.

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The dynamic Nicolas Sarkozy - more a prime minister than a president by character - not only worries many French by his hyperactivity, he also got his fare share of blunders.

In an interview with the French philosopher Michel Onfray published in Philosophie magazine, he offered the view that pedophiles and the 1200 to 1300 young people committing suicide in France each year are genetically predisposed to do so. Here the passage in the French magazine:

M. O. : Je ne leur donnerais pas une importance exagérée. Il y a beaucoup de choses que nous ne choisissons pas. Vous n'avez pas choisi votre sexualité parmi plusieurs formules, par exemple. Un pédophile non plus. Il n'a pas décidé un beau matin, parmi toutes les orientations sexuelles possibles, d'être attiré par les enfants. Pour autant, on ne naît pas homosexuel, ni hétérosexuel, ni pédophile. Je pense que nous sommes façonnés, non pas par nos gènes, mais par notre environnement, par les conditions familiales et socio-historiques dans lesquelles nous évoluons.

N. S. : Je ne suis pas d'accord avec vous. J'inclinerais, pour ma part, à penser qu'on naît pédophile, et c'est d'ailleurs un problème que nous ne sachions soigner cette pathologie. Il y a 1200 ou 1300 jeunes qui se suicident en France chaque année, ce n'est pas parce que leurs parents s'en sont mal occupés! Mais parce que, génétiquement, ils avaient une fragilité, une douleur préalable. Prenez les fumeurs: certains développent un cancer, d'autres non. Les premiers ont une faiblesse physiologique héréditaire. Les circonstances ne font pas tout, la part de l'inné est immense.

The point is that Sarkozy is not an expert on the innate and acquired. He should leave the subject up to the specialists.

More importantly, in recent years, Sarkozy has shown that he can substantially deviate from his liberal credo. In the case of Alstom and of Sanofi-Aventis, he championed industrial interventionism and the creation of "national economic champions".

Ségolène Royal went to the other extreme, tightly controlling her media appearances, often cancelling important ones at the last minute. More worrying, her media staff sometimes hindered journalists from asking follow up questions.

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The Centrist candidate François Bayrou challenged Ségolène Royal's second place in the polls during the campaign. In his blog 4 raisons pour voter François Bayrou, he asserted that he would be the only one to be able to assure victory in the second round of the election. He forget to mention a crucial detail: the name of his opponent. According to the polls, Bayrou seems to be the only one to be able to beat Nicolas Sarkozy in the second round of the presidential election.

In his blog, François Bayrou involuntarily unmasked himself. He always pretended to try to unite the French in the center, to overcome the left-right division. In reality, he (temporarily) managed to attract some Left-wing voters disenchanted with Ségolène Royal. He would only have been able to win the election with the help of the Left. The Right was always in the sure hands of Nicolas Sarkozy.

François Bayrou had the brashness to present himself as a man independent of the established left-right French political system. He forgot that not so long ago he was a minister in the center-right UMP-UDF government.

Bayrou's main argument was the one of the "useful vote" (vote utile). If he is the only one who can beat Sarkozy in the second round, why vote for Royal in the first round? Indeed, had he passed the first round, the Left-wing voters would have preferred him, the Centrist, to Sarkozy. However, the French Socialists were still traumatized by the eviction of their candidate, Lionel Jospin, in the first round of the French presidential election in 2002.

Should Bayrou ask his voters to cast their ballots in favor of Royal in the second round, Sarkozy will have a hard time. However, the UDF would betray its liberal heritage if it opted for the Socialist candidate. The desperately needed reforms towards more economic liberalism would not take place. France would not be able to return to growth and full-employment. Will internal rivalries - like in 1981 between Giscard and Chirac - pave the way for Royal? Luckily, it seems that an important part of the UDF is not ready to put itself in the service of the Left.

As for the xenophobe Right-wing candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, he is old and his message does not go through as easily as it went in 2002, especially because Sarkozy is an important rival regarding subjects such as immigration and crime. Unlike five years ago, Le Pen is not fighting un unpopular president, but a new candidate, Sarkozy, with a fresh image. Furthermore, Royal and the Socialists are rated higher in the polls as was Jospin in 2002, and there is no Left-wing nationalist such as Chevènement presenting himself.

If Sarkozy should be elected president in May, it is still not sure whether France will get its needed economic reforms. Sarkozy's party, the UMP, has been in power since May 2002 - and not accomplished a lot since then.

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Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
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 © Copyright  Louis Gerber All rights reserved.