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France Had An Election — Why Now?
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France Had An Election

La France

They are allowed. They elected a president who promised to clean up France’s illegal immigrant problem to ensure that people like his parents [a Greek immigrant mother and Hungarian immigrant father] are never allowed to settle in France again and have children who can become president. [You can probably guess that he’s a “conservative”.]

The BBC reports Sarkozy takes French presidency and note that “[b]oth candidates worked hard to woo the supporters of the third-placed candidate in round one, centrist Francois Bayrou.” [Francois Bayrou is French for Ralph Nader.]

The BBC also provides some background on the differences between the candidates, Royal v Sarkozy: The policies.

The winner,Nicolas Sarkozy, heads the Union Pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) – center right coalition. [That’s French for fascist-lite.]

The loser, Segolene Royal of Parti Socialiste, was hurt by intraparty controversy. [The “old boys” didn’t want a “girl” to be in charge.]

The French left shares a lot of the characteristics of the Democratic Party.


1 Michael { 05.06.07 at 7:13 pm }

I dunno, Bryan. I’m a tad bit worried now that I may have to commute through more riots when I get to France next week, but initial analyses seem to think it’s going to be OK. According to an article I saw on the front page over at Le Monde, the real fascist in the race, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was just as pissed as anybody over the results. (“The French people will get the kind of president they deserve” was the tagline the newspaper put on the story.)

Sarkozy is to the French in some sense what the Boy Who Would Be King is to us–he’s somebody who’s been a political insider for most of his adult life who somehow managed to convince enough people–largely by stealing other people’s rhetoric, ideas, and programs, and passing them off as his–to vote for him as an “outsider” candidate and an engine for “change.”

On the plus side, if Sarkozy does indeed start seriously mucking around with the Code de la nationalité française for the first time since 1945, hey, that’s another automatic chapter for my dissertation.

2 Bryan { 05.06.07 at 7:49 pm }

Well he doesn’t take office for a bit, and the riots do tend to be better planned and localized than American riots, so it shouldn’t be too hard to avoid them. I never had any problems with the “spontaneous demonstrations” in Amsterdam in the 1970s, everyone knew when and where they would take place. It was part of the routine: order a beer and toastie and get your riot schedule.

You can take the temperature of people and start your outline during the trip.

Le Pen hates Sarkozy because the UMP stole some his ideas and attitudes, and Sarkozy is certainly not Le Pen’s idea of a Frenchman.

Enjoy, you will be watching history in the making, and have an opportunity to record it first hand.

3 Alice { 05.06.07 at 11:02 pm }

It’s been a while since I studied French government, but if I remember correctly, it’s the PM who holds the power on internal matters, especially when the government is split. I haven’t been following this election closely so I don’t know if the PM and President are of the same party; if not, I don’t know how effective Sarkozy will be in implementing his ideas.

4 Bryan { 05.06.07 at 11:11 pm }

They must currently be in UMP control, because Sarkozy has been the Interior minister. It won’t take long for them to figure out they made an error when he starts to implement his policies and they feel the pain.

The only problem Michael may have on his research trip would be if the unions decide to take action.

5 Michael { 05.07.07 at 1:15 pm }

New parliamentary elections are slated for about six weeks from now, at which it’s anticipated that Sarkozy will solidify the government behind him. Hard to tell how the unions are going to react, Bryan (they were having a week of “rolling” strikes just toward the end of my stay in Alsace last trip). But the bigger concern for me are the banlieues, the suburbs. That’s where most of the immigrants (whom Sarkozy has basically promised to turn into permanent guest-workers with no chance of ever becoming citizens–the same problem they’ve been having in Germany next door for the last 20 years and more) live, and I don’t expect they’re going to take too kindly to that possibility. There were already some demonstrations in major cities last night.

6 Bryan { 05.07.07 at 3:02 pm }

Given that both the co-Prince and co-Princess of Andorra are first generation French, the guest workers see a lot to complain about any crack-down on immigration. I saw the reports on the vehicle burning late last night, which was to be expected.

As you correctly point out, the Turks, Serbs, and Greeks invited to work in German factories are not very happy about the way they are treated as compared to the East Germans and Volga Germans.

The fact that many in the suburbs are second or third generations French, with better claims on being French than Sarkozym doesn’t help calm things down.