Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Royal questioned by former Prime Minister

Earlier today former French Prime Minister Edouard Balladur said that Socialist candidate Segolene Royal should clarify her positions on the Middle East, because her comments in the region left the French "a little in the fog". Balladur was focusing on Royal's statements that, if not supported, at least condoned the rationale behind the security fence Israel is building along the West Bank and Israeli overflights of Lebanon. While his questions were harmless, Balladur also saw fit to include a subtle insult, saying that "There was the feeling that she said to each official what pleased to him."

Balladur was Prime Minister of France for two years in the mid-1990s, but after a failed presidential bid in 1995, never regained as prominent a post. He lost three elections in quick succession: president of Ile de France in 1998, mayor of Paris in 2001, and president of the National Assembly in 2002, but now serves as the president of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Commission. Although obviously not participating in this presidential campaign, Balladur has left a legacy that continues to shape it to this day. During his 1995 presidential run against Jacques Chirac, Balladur gained the support of the young Nicolas Sarkozy, thereby forever straining Sarkozy's relations with Chirac. If Chirac does anything to help cause Sarkozy to lose this election, I bet Sarkozy will hope he had made a slightly different decision 20 years ago.

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