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I just have to park it here until the new lj gets set up.  If anyone does feel inclined to take a peek, however, and happened to hear the speech or read the French original, I have a question for you.  Did he really say something that translates as "makes [emphasis mine] everyone respect the law"?  Oh, and I hear  all my French friends would be working more under a President Sarkozy.  Congratulations....

French Interior Minister Sails to Presidential Nomination

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French interior minister, as he accepted his party’s presidential nomination Sunday

Published: January 15, 2007

PARIS, Jan. 14 — France’s interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, overwhelmingly captured the governing party’s nomination for president on Sunday, pledging to enforce laws, respect tradition, restore morality to public life and make the French work longer and harder.

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Olivier Laban-Mattei/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Members of the Union for a Popular Movement Party filled a Paris conference hall Sunday to hear Mr. Sarkozy’s nomination address.

In an 80-minute acceptance speech in a conference hall packed with 80,000 cheering supporters, Mr. Sarkozy also struggled to shake his reputation as the country’s unforgiving and divisive enforcer of law and order, portraying himself as a man of compassion.

“I have understood that humanity is a strength, not a weakness,” Mr. Sarkozy said from a vast stage bearing the colors of the nation’s tricolor flag. “I have changed.”

He added, “I have known defeat, and I have had to overcome it, like millions of French people.”

But his message seemed aimed at wooing France’s right-wing voters, perhaps even more than those in the center or on the left who could potentially support his main rival, the Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal.

“My values are yours, those of the republican right,” the 51-year-old Mr. Sarkozy said. “These are the values of fairness, order, merit, work, responsibility.” He insisted, however, that he was “not a conservative,” and supported innovation and the struggle against injustice.

He evoked the classic images of French history, including the Crusades, the Enlightenment, the cathedrals and Joan of Arc, but said little that would appeal to France’s millions of Muslims.

Despite the French republican ideal that ignores religious and ethnic differences, Mr. Sarkozy broke with tradition by referring to the French as the “heirs of 2,000 years of Christianity.”

In a veiled reference to Muslims who resist the French model of integration, he said that it was unacceptable to “want to live in France without respecting and loving France” and learning the French language.

He said as president he would enforce French laws against polygamy and genital cutting.

Mr. Sarkozy contrasted what he called the “virtual republic” of his opponents to the “real republic” he wants to create. The virtual republic “practices widespread coddling, but leaves people to die on the sidewalks,” he said, and allows strikers too much power and makes excuses for delinquents. He said the real republic, by contrast, “creates jobs, builds houses, lets workers earn a living, gives poor children a chance” and “makes everyone respect the law.”

He also characterized France’s generous social benefits system as in crisis because people do not work long and hard enough. “The problem is that France works less when others work more,” he said, adding, “You have to love labor and not hate it.”

Mr. Sarkozy also referred to his own immigrant roots, calling himself a “little Frenchman of mixed blood.” Mr. Sarkozy’s father was a Hungarian-born aristocrat; his mother is half-Jewish.

The speech is certain to be pounced upon by Mr. Sarkozy’s political enemies for not being more conciliatory — toward France’s large Muslim community, immigrants, the troubled youth of France’s suburbs and workers, for example.

“It was a very ideological, confrontational performance designed to seduce the right,” said Dominique Reynié, a professor of political science at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris. “He was much more to the right than Chirac or Giscard or Pompidou ever were. His aggressive positions can only create more divisions in our country.”

During a campaign event, Ms. Royal said she had no comment on Mr. Sarkozy’s nomination. But Julien Dray, the Socialist Party spokesman, said in a statement that Mr. Sarkozy’s speech was “extremely worrisome” for French citizens and reflected the return of “the violent French right.”

Mr. Sarkozy’s nomination was never in doubt, despite the absence of support for him from President Jacques Chirac and some other senior government officials.

Mr. Sarkozy, who is also the leader of Mr. Chirac’s center-right Union for a Popular Movement Party, controlled the party apparatus and was the only candidate running. He won 98.1 percent of the vote, with nearly 70 percent of the 330,000 registered members of the UMP, as the party is known, participating, primarily via the Internet.

Mr. Sarkozy’s tough talk and personal style contrast starkly with Ms. Royal’s approach.

In his speech, Mr. Sarkozy veered between personal confessions about having to overcome setbacks in life and shrill lecturing, even shouting, as he chopped the air with upraised arms and pointed his fingers at his audience to drive home his message.

The ever smiling Ms. Royal, by contrast, has embarked on a campaign of engaging in a perpetual grass-roots conversation with the French people, in which the main goal seems to be to listen to their woes.

Mr. Sarkozy’s political triumph on Sunday was undercut by an ugly rift within his party that threatened to rob him of crucial support against both Ms. Royal and the far-right National Front in the election this spring.

Mr. Chirac and Mr. Sarkozy have made no secret of their distrust and dislike of each other. Some Sarkozy supporters are convinced that Mr. Chirac will play the role of spoiler and do what he can to prevent a Sarkozy presidency.

Last week, Mr. Chirac, who is 74 and has been in office for 12 years, said that he had not ruled out running for an unprecedented third term as an independent. He did not appear at Mr. Sarkozy’s nomination on Sunday.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, and the president of the National Assembly, Jean-Louis Debré, both Chirac loyalists, have thus far withheld backing for Mr. Sarkozy’s candidacy.

But Mr. Sarkozy has won important party backing from two former prime ministers under Mr. Chirac, Alain Juppé and Jean-Pierre Raffarin. On Friday, Defense Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie, who had thought of running for president herself, threw her support behind Mr. Sarkozy.

The IFOP polling institute reported a week ago that 81 percent of French voters said that they did not want Mr. Chirac to run for re-election, highlighting popular concerns that such a race could divide the center-right vote in the first election round in April.

Consecutive polls indicate that Mr. Sarkozy is the only candidate capable of beating Ms. Royal. An IPSOS opinion poll released last week put the two candidates in a dead heat if they were to face off in a second round of voting in May.

Despite his rocky relationship with Mr. Chirac, Mr. Sarkozy in his speech praised him for opposing the American-led war in Iraq, a position that is supported by a vast majority of the French.

“I want to pay homage to Jacques Chirac, who honored France when he opposed the war in Iraq, which was a mistake,” said Mr. Sarkozy, who has often been accused of being too pro-American.

Mr. Sarkozy intends to continue working as Mr. Chirac’s interior minister, essentially the third most important official after the president and the prime minister.

As for dominiquelechic, just watch what you do with that "little Frenchman" remark of his, okay?  Michèle's decision gives him a nice comeback.



( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC)
He makes me wanna barf. I'm simply terrified he'll get elected because that would be a catastrophe.
Jan. 15th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
Funny, 'barfing' was the exact same sentiment I had reading Métro' on the way home today: "J'ai changé. J'ai changé parce que l'élection présidentielle est une épreuve de verité, parce que les épreuves de la vie m'ont changé.' I'm surprised the paper is still in such good shape...
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
I'll ask you the same questions I asked Aline. If it comes down to a choice between Sarkozy and Royal, what will you do? And is there anyone else you wish would enter the race to give people a third choice?
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
Because my saying he makes me want to barf and that I'm terrified he'll get elected isn't answer enough???? I think what I will do if it comes down to that (if! hahaha, like it's going to come to any other choice than that one anyway) is pretty evident.

And no, there isn't anybody out there with enough political presence that I would like to see. We're fucked anyway. It's mostly just a question of whether we'll end up completely and utterly fucked or jusr mostly fucked.
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
Il nous reste François Bayrou! ;)
(no subject) - crazybutsound - Jan. 15th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jan. 15th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
The whole speech is hilarious. He changed. Rotfl. Lie and treachery are his second nature.

And this "has won important party backing from two former prime ministers under Mr. Chirac, Alain Juppé and Jean-Pierre Raffarin" says a lot about the media's ignorance when it comes to French political life. Two former *very* impopular and *very much* distrusted and very much forced to abandon their functions and whose political careers have been a complete mess since then.

And calling this a political triumph is stupid, since he was the only candidate in his own political party. You can triumph when there is an opponent to defeat!

Jan. 15th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
If the election comes down to Sarkozy and Royal, what are you going to do? Is there anyone out there you wish would enter the race as a third choice for people?
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
It will come to that, I hope and I don't need a third candidate. God. No.
I'll vote for Ségolène for all the wrong reasons. She's beautiful, she's a woman and it's something I've been wanting for a long time, a woman at the head of the state. and she's better than Sarko-the-facho (facist in French slang), in any case.
Jan. 15th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Some Sarkozy supporters are convinced that Mr. Chirac will play the role of spoiler and do what he can to prevent a Sarkozy presidency.

All we can hope for is that Jacques decides to go out with a bang...

Oh, amusing thing - do you remember the show from the early eighties called Spitting Image? Well, France has a similar programme on, Les Guignols (likely you've heard Tavi and I talking about it), and while they keep taking the piss out of Sarko's height (if you'll pardon the Britishness), the amusing thing they're doing for Ségo is that every time she speaks, she does so very deliberately and using simple words and ideas (she was berated in the press a week or so ago when she was in China and instead of using the word bravery 'invented' the word braveness), so the news presenter keeps taking notes, like it was a dictation. Well, I don't describe it so well, but it's amusing. Too bad I can't find it on YouTube.

Sometimes I wish we could all take our politicians, chuck them out and just start again.
Jan. 15th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
I had something else to say, but I can't remember. What does pop to mind is the one journal cover today that wondered whether Sarkozy was a Little Caesar... which leads me to ponder if there is (could there possibly be) a Brutus waiting in the wings?
Jan. 16th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC)
if only...
Jan. 16th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC)
it's been going on for months, this campaigning makes me roll my eyes at the tv more than... no actually, I've never been fulminating so much over an issue. Then again, we don't usually have six months of pre-campaigning, followed by this It feels like the campaign started the day after the 2002 presidential election...

his speech was... argh, I can't even think about it - I can't stand the guy, I'm really concerned that he might be elected, and I really, really wish there was a third candidate who would have a chance, but right now I'm afraid the only third candidate who has a chance belongs to the far right movement and God knows we don't want that.

I feel like we're being held hostage, that the media are just explaining again and again that we have to choose between Sarko and Sego during the first 'tour', otherwise we might be getting Le Pen in the second 'tour' again. You can't turn on the tv (or radio, or newspaper, or anything) without hearing about 'sego et sarko', and all this time I keep wondering what happens to the 'fair distribution of media time between the candidates', which is a farce anyway since even if they have to respect the media time, the media can then do whatever they want, for instance talk about Sego and Sarko non-stop, and then barely mention the other candidates.

I've never been so gloomy and scared about a presidential election.
Jan. 16th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
Isn't it ironic watching media decry unfair election candidate coverage in countries like Russia, and then when it comes to their turn, they do little better.
Jan. 16th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
it must be interesting for you to see all this firsthand. I can't stop finding it depressing... the other day on the radio I heard a candidate (a 'small' candidate as they say) who was complaining that TF1 (for people outside of France: the main tv channel, privately owned, and accused of supporting Sarko) refused to interview her unless she agreed to publicly ask Nicolas Hulot to be a candidate. And she didn't even fancy being on the main 20:00 news, no, she was just asking for the 13:00 Saturday one. And when she complained about the lack of time the channel was giving her, they told her to stop whining, that she had already had 45 seconds and she ought to be happy about it. Now, I know it was only her side of the story, but when you see the media coverage available to 'small' candidates (even that name for them is a disgrace)...

Anyway: if anyone needed a proof that France was fucked... (sorry if this seems like a gloomy picture, but right now I can't do any better regarding politics)
Jan. 16th, 2007 05:08 pm (UTC)
Ah, that would be 'small candidate' in the representation sense, not in the height sense, then, I suppose. ;)

Yeah, interest mixes with depression. The only 'small' candidate I know is Olivier Besancenot (Communist), and that's because his posters are pasted on a few electrical boxes around town. (I was definitely not impressed to see UMP posters in October on the round announcement stands (what do you call those, btw?), and was planning all sorts of nasty things to do to them, but thankfully a bunch of people were of the same mind, and they were mostly torn down or pasted over.) I must have seen about five seconds of other-party coverage on TF3 on Sunday (or maybe it was last night, I can't recall), and all I remember was something about the Parti des travailleurs wanting to break with the EU (or I could be wrong - it was rather quick and short).

Oh, this is fun - a quick search on Besancenot brings me to the official Presidentielle 2007 website, and the candidate list. The current list is as follows (in, seemingly, no order whatsoever):

- Ségolène Royal
- Nicolas Sarkozy
- Olivier Besancenot
- Jacques Chirac
- Arlette Laguiller
- José Bové
- Dominique de Villepin
- Dominique Voynet
- Marie-George Buffet
- Clémentine Autain
- François Bayrou
- Corinne Lepage
- Philippe de Villiers
- Nicolas Dupont-Aignan
- Alain Mourguy
- Edouard Fillias
- Nicolas Miguet
- Christian Chavrier
- France Gamerre
- Jean-Marie Le Pen
- Nicolas Hulot
- Jean-Marc Governatori
- Yves-Marie Adeline
- Les non-candidats... (which is interesting in itself)

It's funny (in a sad way) because if you click on a candidate that hasn't got a profile yet, it says you can help write one if you can be non-partisan and objective. Their criteria on content, however, doesn't seem to be restricted - a quick glance makes it more than look like Sarkozy was typing them in himself. -_-

You know what the irony of the media coverage is? If a channel had decided it would support one of the non-major party candidates, it would be denounced for being biased. Grr!!! Reminds me of the Simpsons episode when Kodos and Kang take over the bodies of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole for the '96 election:

Kent Brockmand: Why should Americans vote for you instead of the other candidate?

Kodos: It doesn't matter which one of us you vote for, either way your planet is doomed - doooomed!

Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates - they're nothing but hideous space reptiles!

Kang: It's true, we are aliens! But what are you going to do about it? It's a two party system, you have to vote for one of us.

Person in audience: Well I believe I'll vote for a third party candidate!

Kodos: Go ahead, throw your vote away!
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( 34 comments — Leave a comment )