Sunday, April 22, 2007

1st round of French elections: encouraging yet worrying

Nicolas Sarkozy,: 30.5% v. Segolene Royal: 25.7%. Two diametrically opposed visions of the world will clash in the second round of the French presidential elections.

I am encouraged that Sarkozy won what is probably the highest score for a "RPR now UMP"* candidate in the first round for the last 20 years. I am concerned about what Bayrou's supporters will do next with their votes, given that they didn't really think that through in the first round. Many socialists voted Bayrou believing he would have a better chance to beat Sarkozy in the second round...

Royal, since she has no program that any decent economist would support is building an "all but Sarkozy" coalition. I watched the live BBC 24 coverage of the elections and apparently, French people now understand that they need to change if they want to survive in the 21st century. Royal is positioning herself as the agent of "gentle change" as opposed to Sarkozy's more "brutal" methods.

Mathematically, if Sarkozy does not win Bayrou's voters, he will lose to Royal. Now imagine France as a car whose handbrake has been released, sliding slowly downhill towards a cliff. Voting Royal is like pressing the accelerator with both feet.

* Let's compare UK and French political parties: the UMP, which is "right wing" in France would be at the left of "New Labour". That's how liberal we are. Royal's supporters would be speaking standing on a box in Hyde Park corner.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I totally agree with you. Ségolène Royal does not have a viable program. Her passionate addresses to the electorate these days do not have any specific connotation. However her populist slogans excite the crowd and this is really dangerous. When we take Sarkozy's stand about immigration, we can presume that the majority of the ex-immigrant population will vote against him. Moreover, the Islamic population will weigh voting in favour of the female Royal over the son of an Israelite Sarkozy.

I am worried... Sarkozy has all my support and wishes of good luck!