Friday, January 26, 2007

Sarkozy derailed?

French Interior Minister and UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is facing increasing pressure to resign his government post after allegations were confirmed that an intelligence branch of his ministry had an open file on one of Segolene Royal's campaign members (Bruno Rebelle). For their part, the Socialists appear to smell blood after weeks of watching Sarkozy soar and Royal fumble; Rebelle himself said, "Can you believe it? They were digging away to see if I was a wife-beater," and former culture minister Jack Lang said, "I am demanding the resignation of the minister-candidate, who is using the state apparatus for personal, partisan reasons."

The poetic irony of all this, as I believe the Financial Times mentioned today, is that 20 years ago one of Royal's brothers helped destroy the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand, and now the former head of Greenpeace in France is Royal's environment advisor.

But despite the good news for Royal, she has been unable to keep her mouth shut.

The controversy overshadowed Ms Royal's latest blunder, which occurred when asked how many ballistic nuclear missile-carrying submarines France possessed. "One," she said. "In fact, it is seven," said the journalist interviewing her. "Ah yes, seven," she replied. The true figure is four.

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