The second UMP debate has concluded today in Lyon with Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. The topic of conversation was the role of the French president, and each held surprisingly different viewpoints. Alliot-Marie held a somewhat romantic view that a president should stand above the petty political fights during his teunre: "The (president is the) only one not to be called into question during five years. (...) He has the complete responsibility for the choice of his means." Sarkozy perhaps because of his energetic personality, had a much more hands on approach:
"The president of the Republic is not a referee above the parties, who walks on water because he was elected. (...) he is a leader who has courage to say before the elections all that he thinks and all that he will do and has the honesty on the day following the election to scrupulously implement the policy on which he engaged. He is a man who engages, he is a man who is responsible, he is a man who assumes his responsibilities, he is not a man which is dissimulated behind an adviser or a Prime Minister."
Michele Alliot-Marie began the debate with a bit of humor, declaring that France, viewed internationally, "is the Eiffel Tower and the President (Chirac)." Sarkozy responded with a pang of nationalism: "I will take care not to reduce France to a monument or to a person (...) France is 62 million French, it is a people who have intelligence and it is the work of these people which creates a nation."
Within the next week or two will come the third and final UMP debate as well as Alliot-Marie's declaration (or not) of her candidacy. See the first debate summary here.
Technorati tags: Nicolas Sarkozy, Alliot-Marie, UMP, politics, politique, présidentielle, actualité, France