Friday, January 5, 2007

Chirac strikes at Sarkozy

French President Jacques Chirac has sent the French right reeling after announcing bold new tax cuts. Commentators are unsure whether these moves are an attempt to thwart UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy or an opening bid in his own presidential campaign.

The French president, Jacques Chirac, took the gloves off yesterday in his campaign to thwart his colleague and rival Nicolas Sarkozy's bid to succeed him.

In what was described as an anti-Sarkozy programme, Mr Chirac, 74, outlined a five-year economic and social manifesto which included huge tax cuts.

The move is seen as a double-edged attack on Mr Sarkozy, the head of Mr Chirac's centre-right UMP party and a frontrunner for the presidential elections in May. It pre-empts the interior minister's own manifesto, and causes confusion over whether Mr Chirac will stand for a third term.

(...) Mr Chirac used his traditional new year greeting to business and union leaders to outline what sounded more like electoral pledges than a political au revoir. He promised massive tax cuts for businesses within five years, and defended the French social model, in stark contrast to the "rupture" promised by Mr Sarkozy, whose name the president refuses to utter. Read more...

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