French politics' demise

france.gifActually the trusty Fistful of Euros have already blogged extensively on the recent flurry and turmoil in French politics. Emmanuel has posted on the triangle of folly (i.e. Sarkozy, Villepin, and Chirac).

"The prospect of Sarkozy replacing Villepin as French Prime Minister has apparently been given a significant boost today, with a close aide of Sarkozy saying his boss could accept such an offer, provided he is allowed to carry out his (and not Chirac’s) political agenda.

Now, maybe this won’t come to pass (and I’ll argue below that it probably won’t). But it is worth recalling some recent history to show how extraordinary such a move would be."

Alex Harrowell also excellently reports on the Clearstream affair ...

"It never stops when your blog has to cover an entire continent. Hardly had the Italian left taken AFOE’s advice to get Giorgio Napolitano elected as president than the Clearstream scandal in France was getting out of hand, and nothing at all on the blog! Fortunately, at the moment the news from that quarter is coming so thick and at such a howling rate of speed that it wasn’t going to be hard to catch up. The latest despatches suggest that, firstly, it was De Villepin and Chirac, and secondly, that the victim-Nicolas Sarkozy-probably has something to hide too, as in any good film noir." 

And now also the recent edition of the Economist sums up on the sorry and negative state of French politics.

"A DECADE or so in power saps the authority of any political leader. Just ask Britain's Tony Blair. But the troubles afflicting France's president, Jacques Chirac, in the twilight of his 11-year-old presidency, are chronic. His government this week survived a vote of no confidence, but emerged no stronger. Most debilitating of all, its credibility is being undermined mainly by an internal war of attrition.

With an absolute majority in parliament, the ruling centre-right UMP party comfortably saw off the censure motion, proposed by the Socialist Party. Ahead of the vote, Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister, spoke defiantly of his plans to create a “fairer, more united and more confident” society. But his fighting talk scarcely registered. More than half the UMP's deputies did not vote. François Bayrou, leader of the centrist UDF party, which has a minister in the government, voted against it for the first time since the party was created in 1978 by then President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. “Our country,” declared the Socialist Party, “is going through one of the most serious political crises of the fifth republic.”"