Friday, February 9, 2007

Week Wrap Up


Sorry no posts yet today, but here's a quick wrap up.

1. This Sunday is the big day. Socialist candidate Segolene Royal will announce her presidential program, which will once and for all open up her campaign to praise and scorn. If light on details, she will seem to confirm the accusations that she is a political lightweight who speaks in platitudes. If heavy on details, she may satisfy some critics, but will open a Pandora's box for criticism of the actual specifics themselves. Royal will need to toe a fine line between being true to her party base while also clearly showing that she is willing to be pragmatic and reform minded.

2. Jacques Chirac has all but admitted this week that he will not be seeking reelection as president of France. This was not necessarily unexpected, but still important nonetheless. The only remaining question is whether he will put old animosity aside and support his party's candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. Chances are less than fifty-fifty, but that doesn't mean that Sarkozy still can't, in his words, "hope".

3. This past Thursday National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen drew criticism for provocative comments he made on a TV talk show.

"Foreigners are welcome here," the 77-year-old Le Pen said on the France-2 television station. But "we can't carry the load of millions of people chased by the world's misery who come here. If we don't stop them from coming, we will be submerged.

"We will no longer be the majority in our home and we will be slaves."

One should never count Le Pen out, but he has never regained his high watermark of 17% in the polls, and has consistently been eclipsed by UDF candidate Francois Bayrou. His comments are crude enough that one need not mention the irony, that the true French people would become slaves to foreigners (Africans, who are known more for having been enslaved than doing that themselves).

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