Monday, November 29, 2004

Chirac Rejected?

Three of the four leaders who backed the Iraq War are or likely will be re-elected (Australia's Howard, America's Bush, and Britain's Blair). But what about the Axis of Weasels? Jacques Chirac is facing an increasing challenge from Nicholas Sarkozy, who is more friendly to free markets--and, as a self-made man who rose from outside the French establishment, is considered more "American" in his outlook.

"Sarkozy to Lead France's Ruling Party," Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post, November 29

"In his acceptance speech Sunday, Sarkozy showed no reluctance to embrace contentious positions. Among other things, he proposed a "profound reform" of France's 35-hour workweek, a centerpiece of the last Socialist government's economic policy. It is popular with workers, but businesses have decried it as too costly. 'I am ready to carry your energy, I am ready to embody your hopes,' Sarkozy said. 'I am ready because I know that deep inside, France no longer fears change, but is ready for it.' Sarkozy's rise to the top of France's largest political machine--a party begun, under another name, by Chirac nearly 30 years ago--is an unlikely success story for France, where most politicians come from the same elite social class and the same school, the Ecole Nationale
d'Administration. Sarkozy is the son of a Hungarian immigrant father and a French mother with Jewish roots. Sarkozy also is a lawyer, not a professional administrator from the prestigious school. His popularity soare! d after he became Chirac's interior minister in 2002 and he launched a crackdown on crime
by borrowing from New York City's 'zero tolerance' policy. He also earned plaudits from French Jews for being among the first to speak out forcefully against anti-Semitic attacks in France."