Monday, May 07, 2007
Ségolène Royal Fizzled Out
Nicholas Sarkozy is the winner in French presidential election. The result was expected. Madame Royal lost her cool in the debate on May 2nd with Sarkozy which, to some degree, sealed her fate. But even before the debate there were signs that French voters were losing their enthusiasm for her. Her attempts to gain centrist candidate Francois Bayrou's support fell flat. Many considered that as unprincipled.
Politicians often resort to expediency.Our own presidential hopefuls lining up for 2008 appear to be wiggling to find positions that will appeal to their base. Rudy Giuliani is ready to surrender support for women's right to choose, and Hillary Clinton is staying away from a clear position on Iraq war.
"I want to give French people back the pride of being French -- to finish with repentance, which is a form of self-hate," he said, renouncing a pervasive national malaise fed by economic decline at home and sinking influence abroad.
An unabashed admirer of America, Sarkozy, 52, had a special message for the United States, which has had troubled relations with France under President Jacques Chirac, who led international opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq.
"I'd like to appeal to our American friends to say that they can count on our friendship," he said. "But I would also like to say that friendship means accepting that your friends don't necessarily see eye to eye with you."
In particular, he said, "a great nation like the United States has the duty not to oppose the fight against global warming, but to lead that battle, because what is at stake is the destiny of mankind." Sarkozy said he would make the issue a top international priority as president.
For Sarkozy it is not going to be a bed of roses. Those who elected him will expect results. Backlash against immigrants was a factor in his victory. The growing immigrant population is restive. It could turn out to be an ugly summer.
Democracy in action. Whether or not one admires the French and their culture, 84% of French citizens voted in the election. That is something they can be proud of. For those who are unaware, in the 2004 presidential election only 55% of eligible voters in America participated! Think of what we got!