While Nicolas Sarkozy is vacationing on the Republic of Malta, he missed scattered protests and violence across France on the night of his election, resulting in 592 arrests and 730 burned cars.
Some of the most concentrated violence took place at Place de la Bastille in Paris where the police fired volley after volley of teargas cluster grenades that looked like fireworks before descending on the crowd of young protesters. At one point, the square — the site of the July 14, 1789, uprising that is celebrated annually — was thick with white teargas reflecting the orange glow of a car fire while silhouetted youths heaved paving stones at tight formations of armored riot police officers.
Americans on both political aisles have gotten downright giddy, at least relatively speaking, and White House sources say that Bush was relieved he didn't have to congratulate Royal.
We certainly look forward to cooperation with the French,” Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, said Monday, adding: “We know that there are going to be areas of disagreement. But on the other hand, there are certainly real opportunities to work together on a broad range of issues.”
The two presidents will meet in Berlin next month for the Group of 8 summit meeting of industrial nations, and Mr. Sarkozy would be expected to visit the United States for the annual opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, told CNN on Sunday, “It would be nice to have someone who’s head of France who doesn’t have a knee-jerk reaction against the United States.”
On the same program, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said that “Sarkozy would be favorable to the United States,” adding, “Clearly his views are more in line with ours.”
Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, meanwhile, praised Mr. Sarkozy on the CBS News program “Face the Nation” on Sunday as “the candidate of change.”
Although it may not turn out to be true, Sarkozy has been elected on a platform of competence, and that will mean that voters will expect results. Luckily, they only had to wait until today when singer Johnny Hallyday announced that he will leave his exile in Switzerland and return to France now that Sarkozy will cap taxes at 50%.