Monday, February 5, 2007

Royal economics, Sarkozy polls

Polls again confirmed Nicolas Sarkozy's lead over Segolene Royal, finishing 52% to 48% respectively in the second round of voting. Interestingly, 15% of voters said that they wouldn't vote in this runoff, which in some ways gives Sarkozy and Royal the opportunity to win just by energizing turnout. The first round also confirmed that centrist Francois Bayrou has a consistent lead over National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen, with them finishing 13% to 9%.

In spite of her struggling poll numbers, Segolene Royal released a preliminary proposal for how she would attack the concern on a majority of French minds: unemployment.

Royal pledged that she wished to lower unemployment to below 5%, but with it currently hovering just above 9%, that will be a mighty challenge. How she will accomplish this mission also appears murky. In order to revalue work, Royal wants to completely abolish the new CNE contracts, which allows a small bussiness to basically fire at will during the first two years of employment, after which an employee becomes permanent. There are several other less-permanent contracts that Royal wants to be "reserved strictly to the cover of the temporary needs of the companies." She would also reward companies which hire unqualified, old, longterm unemployed, or young people. In addition, Royal wants to create a "saftey net" for the uneployed, as well as help in the job search and extra training.

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