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Oh please say it isn't so!

From today's Financial Times.  So who needs reality television when you have this?

Sarkozy  talked of as new French premier

By Peggy Hollinger in Paris
Published May 7, 2006

Speculation mounted on Sunday that French President Jacques Chirac could call on his long-time rival Nicolas Sarkozy to replace Dominique de Villepin, prime minister, who has struggled to assert his authority amid a political scandal involving the country's most senior officials.

The Elysée palace on Sunday denied reports that the interior minister, who is also head of the ruling UMP party, had been asked to consider becoming prime minister.  President Chirac had "complete and total confidence in prime minister Dominique de Villepin to fulfill the mission he had been given," a spokeswoman said on Sunday.

But it is clear that Mr de Villepin is under increasing pressure after being accused of involvement in an alleged political smear campaign that targeted Mr Sarkozy and other senior French officials.

Mr. Sarkozy's spokesman did not deny that he would consider replacing Mr de Villepin if asked.  French media suggested at the weekend that the subject had been discussed in passing at meetings between the president and Mr Sarkozy on Friday and Saturday.

Noting that there was currently no vacancy, the spokesman said:  "The president wants to keep his prime minister."

But if the job became available, Mr Sarkozy's acceptance "would depend on the conditions" made at the time of the offer.

Mr Sarkozy, who might be tempted to accept such an offer in order to restore confidence in the right, had been hoping to resign from the government in the coming months to launch his campaign for the presidential elections next year.  But the current political scandal and widespread disillusionment with Mr Chirac's presidency threaten to undermine the UMP's chances next year.

According to Le Monde, the highly regarded French daily, Mr Sarkozy is concerned not to add "a political and institutional crisis to a judicial affair".  He is quoted as saying to colleagues:  "If I go the divisions would be too strong".

Adding weight to his argument, a poll published yesterday in the Journal du Dimanche, the French weekly, signalled the divided Socialist party was beginning to show concerted support for the dark horse candidate, Ségolène Royal.  More than 50 per cent of party members polled supported her as presidential candidate over veterans such as Dominique Strauss-Kahn or her partner and party leader François Hollande.

Meanwhile the pressure on Mr de Villepin is unlikely to disappear in the near future.  Mr Sarkozy will testify in the coming days to judges investigatint the political scandal, which could lead to new revelations.

Chirac's endorsement of Villepin (through a spokeswoman) reminds me of GWB's "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job"; and we know what happened to the FEMA director shortly after that....


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
Maybe Sarkozy becoming PM will somehow diminish his chances as presidential candidate.
Wishful thinking.
I can't begin to imagine him at the Elysée.
May. 8th, 2006 03:04 pm (UTC)
Chirac's endorsement does appear to be a kiss of death - I'm seriously surprised that DeVillepin has managed to keep his job for this long.

Still, it's quite disappointing. If a country is going to have a conservative prime minister (hell bent on destroying workers' rights) he should at least look absolutely fabulous!
May. 8th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
Hear hear! If we have to reside with evil, we might as well enjoy the ride. The world is too full of ugly politicians. Why add Sarkozy to the fray?

I like this quote: "If I go the divisions would be too strong". Please, then, what the hell are you doing hanging around?

And Madame Conservative-Socialist (???) Royal? o_O Next thing we know Laura Bush will be appointed VP. Then France can join in one the whole family values crusade. *sighs*
May. 8th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
I know I told alinewrites about this when we spoke Saturday morning, but I don't think I've mentioned it to you yet. The FT did a fairly long article last week on Philippe de Villiers, all about how he'll be taking up the mantle of the ultra right once Le Pen puts it down. Le Pen, who's already formally announced that he's in the presidential race once again.

You know something? I hate to say it, but with Cheney spouting off against Russia the way he's been doing the last few days, Laura might be the lesser of two evils.
May. 8th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, I do remember you mentioning that. Someone has to be the ultra-right, I suppose. Here's a question (because my brain has been pondering it on and off all day - yes, yes, instead of writing - blame looneyluna's post on the abortion/contraception debate) - do we tolerate intolerance? Is Sarkozy right on his attempt to bring the FN supporters closer to the centre, or will it end up bringing more mainstream people to the edges? Should we just let the fringes be there, while acknowledging... you know what, I'm much to tired for this to make any sense.

Cheney is just an idiot when it comes to Russia. No, actually, he's just a product of the containment philosophy. It's so frustrating to watch the U.S. government think that the end of history really is a valid concept, and then operate on that basis... you guys need a bit of hedonistic Marxist pluralism. I wonder how Canada can go about exporting that?
May. 9th, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
I'll have to think about your question re people on the fringes and write a reply when I don't have to fit it in around work (and I'm just now getting pulled in on a conference call). Ciao!
May. 9th, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
Hurrah! Conference calls!!! :-S I just got up, so I'll go get a reply to Switzerland... man I've got a headache. I also was thinking, since it happens to be that time of month, that we forget that we can reproduce, but we don't necessarily have to. It's this modern mentality - we think that we can do something, so we must. We can buy an SUV, so why not buy an SUV? I'd better go take an aspirin...
May. 8th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
*headdesk* why? whyyyy?!

okay, so maybe it will prevent him from being elected, and that would be good. But seriously, how weird is French politics? now that I don't live there anymore, it's almost hilarious (then again it doesn't take me much to giggle these days)
May. 9th, 2006 09:08 am (UTC)
I find French politics absolutely fascinating (as opposed to American politics, which are depressing beyond words most of the time). At least no one in the French government appears to be trying to single-handedly start the cold war again, as our dear vice president seems set on doing.

Can't you just imagine the expression on Chirac's face at his first photo op with PM Sarkozy?
May. 9th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC)
speaking of American politics, I watched a West Wing episode last night in which they had to deal with starting the cold war in Iran or not, and the new Russian president was a former KGB - rings a bell? Anyway - this was season 3, and considering what's happening lately... I find them really good (the show I mean). do you think the next US presidential election is going to change a lot of things in the white house? will there be a democrat?

yeah, that would be priceless! lol
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )