Royal vs Sarkozy (?)

france.gifThis seems to be the set-piece for the very exciting elections next year in France although Mme Royal is not quite past the post amongst her fellow socialist elephants. Actually, Sarkozy has not been named official candidate for the UMP either but les us assume then shall we? Sarkozy for one is already at it ...

(From the FT)

'Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday opened his campaign for next year’s French presidential elections by firing a warning shot at Ségolène Royal, his most likely leftwing opponent, while sending more comforting messages to business leaders and immigrants.

France’s interior minister made a rock-star-style arrival by helicopter at the annual conference of the business lobby Medef, to a standing ovation, before drilling home the points he hopes will dominate the run-up to next April’s elections.

He could not resist a jibe at Ms Royal, the rising star of the Socialist party, whom many expect to be his main opponent. “This is an election, not a beauty contest,” he declared, in a thinly veiled reference to his glamorous rival’s perceived lack of policy ideas.'


'Mr Sarkozy told the conference: “We need a big debate to give the country a direction.” He said lack of debate had deprived French people of a chance to vote on the “big questions” in the 2002 elections.

He attacked the 35-hour working week – introduced by the previous Socialist government – as “France’s principal problem”. He said the country had “still not recovered from the historically stupid choice to tell people that by working less they could earn more”.

“In this election there will be some people striving for us to work less,” he said, in a clear reference to the Socialists’ manifesto pledge to extend the 35-hour week to more companies. “If I play a role in this election, I will strive for people to work more.'

I for one am looking forward to this one because I really think that the elections have the potential of clearing and freshening up a very negative and counterproductive political environment in France. There are so many salient issues to be taken care in French policy and the winner of the elections can hopefully be granted the legitimacy necessary to begin working on them.