Sunday, May 6, 2007

A look forward

Sorry it took so long to get back, there were some technical difficulties. This was a night filled with statements. First Royal graciously accepted defeat, then Sarkozy spoke, then Royal again spoke from a balcony, and finally, UDF candidate Francois Bayrou, who had the last word on his own political fortunes.

But rhetoric does not naturally translate into practice. Nicolas Sarkozy now must prove himself, making sometimes painful economic reform palatable and sustainable in terms of public opinion, reinvigorating US-France relations without becoming the next Tony Blair, and dealing with a host of other domestic and international issues that are not pressing but still crucial. Sarkozy does not and will not succeed in everything, but he is being elected on a promise of competence, and that will demand quick results of some kind.

In many ways we have had mixed impressions and messages from Sarkozy. He is the son of an immigrant who wants to crack down on immigration, but who has at the same time suggested affirmative action and other initiatives to integrate the unemployed/underemployed minorities. He wants to cut state jobs and liberalize the labor market, but will not hesitate to interfere in the name of economic nationalism. He once called Frances stance in advance of the Iraq war "arrogant", but then praised it. The real Sarkozy will only be revealed overtime, for better or for worse.

Royal will also have a chance to prove herself. With her stunning primary victory, she gave her party a whole new criteria with which to choose candidates, at the risk of sounding cliche, the whole process became more Americanized, realizing that exciting personality is a key component in a democratic leader. Some thought she might become a French John Kennedy. She didnt. But she is still a relatively young woman in political terms, and can still accomplish a great deal if she wished to.

The great thing about democracy is that although it is hard to find great leaders, getting rid of bad ones is easy (unless Le Pen gets into the second round). If five years hence Sarkozy has reneged on his promises in face of pressure from the street, or enacted reform that has genuinely harmed the French way of life, he can be removed. Whether there are good alternatives is the task of the French left and center for the next five years.


Bokbok said...

Je me sens bien maintenant...

Boz said...

I sense sarcasm, but dont worry, Sarkozy is not going to suddenly turn France upsidedown.


Jogues said...

Boz, Thanks for the blog. It's been great fun reading your entries these past few months. I'm very happy with the result of the election. We'll see how President Sarkozy does...

Chris Late said...

Boz, I see you've already picked your next topic! In any event, your work here was much appreciated.

It's difficult to know whether to expect turbulence or excitement from the coming years. I hope that M. Sarkozy lives up to most of what he said in his acceptence speech, which was eloquent and open.

Vive la France!


enigmatikmike said...

Sarkozy in Malta

Sarkozy in Malta
[07/05/2007 - 19:20]
French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy arrived unannounced in Malta this morning on board a private jet, accompanied by members of his family and a number of security personnel. It is believed Mr Sarkozy is taking a rest for a few days before finalising his government line-up and policy priorities. Wearing a jacket and jeans, Mr Sarkozy passed through the passenger terminal at the Malta International Airport, where he was seen winking at people who stared at him in disbelief. Sources said he is scheduled to leave Malta on Wednesday. Mr Sarkozy officially takes over as President from Jacques Chirac on May 16. Picture shows Mr Sarkozy leaving the luxurious Fouquet's Hotel in Paris, this morning, at about 9 a.m.


enigmatikmike said...

Alden said...

I have to say that after six decades of following politics and political figures, Nicholas Sarkozy is one of the most impressive I have ever seen. He combines the IQ of a Nixon or Clinton, the charisma of a
Kennedy and the communication skills of a Reagan.

I would have never dreamed, in my lifetime, to see a French politician positioned to liberate a great people and a great country.

Bon courage, Sarkozy!

Vive la France!

Boz said...

I just got back to the US, thanks for all the comments throughout the past few days. Mike, I guess Sarkozy deserves a vacation, considering what he will soon be going through, although I think Royal needs it more than he. Chris, I've thought of a few things, although nothing is set. I will definitely be continuing in some kind of format after the innauguration.


enigmatikmike said...

Quite ironic that Sarkozy should come right here for his holidays. Never expected it. (Nor did anyone else here.)

Maybe I'll go stalk him and get some exclusive photos... Not.