Monday, May 07, 2007

France elects conservative, rejects socialist

Maybe there's hope for the Frogs yet. From the, Beeb:
Conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has won the hotly-contested French presidential election.
The final count gave Mr Sarkozy 53.06%, compared with 46.94% for socialist Segolene Royal, with turnout at 85%.

Mr Sarkozy, 52, the son of a Hungarian immigrant, takes over from the 74-year-old Jacques Chirac.

Riot police have fired tear gas at a small group of demonstrators who were protesting in central Paris against Mr Sarkozy's victory.

I see the Democrats have made their way to Paris! Anywho, good news and bad news resulted from the victory. Good news...
He said the US could count on France's friendship...

...and bad news...
but urged Washington to take a lead in the fight against climate change.

Oh, well, nobody's perfect. Finally, this caught my attention:
But the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Paris says he will have to work hard to unite the French, and try to win round those who voted against him.

Why? Seriously, why does he have to win over those who voted against him? He had a mandate, having both a majority and a near 7% margin of victory. Those who voted against him can continue to oppose him (much as those of us who voted against Democrats last year will be doing), or they can give him a chance. Sure, working for common ground in and of itself is noble and probably a good idea from a political practicality standpoint, but I disagree that it is incumbent upon Sarkozy to "reach out" to those who oppose him.

By the way, the Socialists are in disarray after their third straight defeat. From the Financial Times:
Let the finger-pointing begin. Ségolène Royal’s defeat on Sunday night left the French Socialist party in disarray and searching for someone to blame. There is hardly a shortage of scapegoats.

It is the party’s third consecutive presidential defeat. The Socialists now face the question of whether they can ever regain power without ditching their anti-capitalist rhetoric, as the mainstream left has done across almost all of Europe.
”The left is not credible on so many issues (yeah, no kidding! - Ed.), from the 35-hour working week to immigration and law and order,” says Dominique Reynié, professor at Sciences Po university.

“It is the fault of the left collectively. Ever since their [parliamentary election] defeat in 1983 they have never questioned their fundamental ideology, only thinking they needed to change tactics,” he says.

Well, that was the American left's approach for so many years, too: hide your true beliefs and focus on tactics, not the message. That approach always failed until 2006, when (as a result of Iraq, spending, and immigration, among other things) the tactic finally paid off. The approach has yet to pay off in France, though.

Perhaps France will finally return to relevancy on the international stage. Only time will tell.

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