Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Sarkozy goes to London
UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is traveling to London today, where he will be meeting with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as French ex-pats. This will officially be Sarkozy's first foreign trip as a presidential candidate, and a much more politically safe destination than Royal's voyages the Middle East or China.
Although Blair is intimately connected with the Iraq War, he is seen as a moderate figure in France, leading both candidates to create comparisons between him and him/herself. Segolene, while already compared with Blair in the French media, has yet to meet him this campaign. Sarkozy, on the other hand, has met him 8 times since 2002, and is seen as the favorite of Downing Street. The Socialists, attempting to create a wedge between Sarkozy and Britain in the public mind, have said that Sarkozy "only has to meet Margaret Thatcher now. The photo will go alongside that of Sarkozy with Bush."
One should also not discount Sarkozy's meetings with the French community in Britain. Roughly 300,000 French citizens live there, just 100,000 shy of the population of Royal's recent choice of destination, Martinique. They are also likely more business orientated, which would favor the policies of Sarkozy.
Interestingly, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who has become a supporter of Sarkozy's campaign, was commanded by President Jacques Chirac to not go with Sarkozy: "the Defence Minister has no business travelling abroad with the UMP candidate." Is this Chirac once again meddling in a future not his own, or a feeble attempt to stop his government from being completely marginalized in its final months? We'll have to see.
Technorati tags: Ségolène Royal, Segolene Royal, Nicolas Sarkozy, UMP, politics, politique, présidentielle, actualité, France