>If you asked me which of the [two] countries France will have closer relations with – the United States or Russia, known to us for its Chechen war -‘the U.S.’ would be my answer.
— Nicolas Sarkozy, President-Elect of France, quoted by Novosti, May 6, 2007
SARKOZY: KEY POLICIES
1) Exempt overtime (above 35 hours) from taxes and social security charges
2) Minimum sentences for repeat offenders, tougher sentences for juveniles
3) Selective immigration that favours arrival of qualified workers
4) Increase taxes on polluters
5) Oppose Turkish EU membership
Nicolas Sarkozy’s election to the presidency of France is a bright spot in the otherwise glum prospect for Mike (“I’ll Always Be a Communist”) Gorbachev’s “new European Soviet.” The Leninist schemers in the Kremlin are no doubt gnashing their teeth, while the promoters of the “European caliphate” must be cluthing the Koran and muttering imprecations. Has the French “Ministry of Surrender” lowered the white flag? We shall watch and wait.
France looks to new Sarkozy era
Published: 2007/05/07 13:48:58 GMT
France is preparing to enter a new political era, one day after choosing right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy to be the country’s next president.
Previously a divisive cabinet minister, Mr Sarkozy won a clear election victory over Socialist opponent Segolene Royal.
Mr Sarkozy has pledged to boost the economy by creating jobs, liberalise employment laws, be tough on crime and control immigration.
He officially takes over from Jacques Chirac on 16 May.
Before then, campaign aides say Mr Sarkozy, 52, will spend a few days resting at an undisclosed location to finalise his government line-up and policy priorities.
On Monday, Mr Sarkozy revealed that his choice of prime minister would be Francois Fillon, who is currently Mr Sarkozy’s senior political adviser.
Mr Sarkozy’s remarks came during a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The size of Sunday’s election victory – a resounding win by 53% to 47% in a two-horse race, with a turnout of 85% – gives the new president real authority, correspondents say.
“We have to act, the French people expect it. They have given him a real mandate,” chief of staff Claude Gueant told French radio.
Mr Sarkozy is expected to quickly name a 15-strong cabinet for the start of his five-year term in office.
The first key hurdle for the new president will be nationwide parliamentary elections in June.
Securing a workable majority in the National Assembly would greatly ease the passage of Mr Sarkozy’s planned reforms.
Early polling for those elections puts Mr Sarkozy’s UMP party ahead of the Socialists by about six percentage points, the Reuters news agency reported.
Ms Royal’s defeat was the Socialists’ third successive presidential election loss, and the party is now expected to face calls for internal change.
Mr Sarkozy has promised to try to reform France to face the challenges of the 21st century, and creating jobs is at the top of his agenda.
He has pledged to bring unemployment down from 8.3% to below 5% by 2012.
During his first 100 days in office he is also expected to propose tax cuts and table legislation to keep trains running during strikes.
While he has said he will not end France’s 35-hour working week, Mr Sarkozy proposes allowing staff to work overtime, as well as cutting restrictions on hiring and firing staff.
Known as a divisive figure from his years as a strict interior minister, Mr Sarkozy appears intent on a tough approach to law and order, favouring minimum sentences for repeat offenders and tougher sentences for juveniles.
He struck a conciliatory tone in his victory speech on Sunday evening, telling crowds in Paris and those watching around the country that he would be president “of all the French”.
Himself the son of a Hungarian immigrant, Mr Sarkozy said: “France has given me everything, and now it is my turn to give back to France what France has given me.”
Nevertheless, there were minor clashes with protesters in Paris and some other cities after the result was announced.
Several hundred rioters in the Place de la Bastille threw bottles and stones at police, shouting “Sarko-fascist”.
Two police officers were injured in Nantes, where 1,000 demonstrators turned to violence. Arrests were made in half-a-dozen cities, but the trouble soon subsided.
The election result was widely welcomed outside France, with the US, EU, China and Japan offering congratulations to Mr Sarkozy.
The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was more cautious, saying he hoped Mr Sarkozy would review his opposition to Turkey joining the EU.
Source: BBC News
Segolene Royal’s response to defeat, by contrast, is typical for leftists: name call and threaten riot and revolution. The Socialist candidate has simply taken a page from Obrador’s script in Mexico. The French electorate apparently looked into the face of Eurabia and endless socialism and shuddered. In view of the penchant that France’s (Muslim/immigrant/leftist) “youth” have demonstrated for torching vehicles, one might be forgiven for asking, tongue in cheek, are there any cars left in La Patrie to immolate?
May 6, 2007
Riot alert for Sarkozy victory
Matthew Campbell in Paris
Thousands of riot police will be deployed in Paris tonight after warnings that victory for Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative candidate in today’s presidential election, could spark violent protests.
Fears of a repeat of the rioting that swept France two years ago intensified as the final opinion polls pointed to an overwhelming victory for Sarkozy. A crowd of up to 40,000 Sarkozy supporters was expected on the Champs Elysées in central Paris to celebrate the result. Police believe that gangs of youths from the suburbs might confront them.
Sarkozy has promised a “fraternal” republic but said last week that he did not regret having described young delinquents as “scum” in 2005 in remarks widely believed to have ignited the rioting.
The interior ministry said that 8,000 riot police were being placed on stand-by in the suburbs — equivalent to the force deployed at the height of the violence, when 10,000 cars and dozens of businesses were burnt in three weeks of mayhem.
Sarkozy, 52, a Hungarian immigrant’s son who wants to modernise France, enjoyed a nine-point lead over Ségolãne Royal, 53, the Socialist candidate, in one of the last polls taken before the second and final round of voting. In a desperate effort to catch up with him, Royal, the first woman to reach the second round, warned that Sarkozy would trigger “violence and brutality” and was a “dangerous” choice for France.
She was playing on her rival’s reputation as a hate figure among minorities in the suburbs because of his “zero tolerance” crackdown, as interior minister, on crime and illegal immigrants.
Jean-Pierre Brard, mayor of Montreuil, a Paris suburb with a high immigrant population, warned: “There are reasons to be vigilant. Young people are effectively wound up like alarm clocks against Sarkozy.”
Source: Times Online
Meanwhile, Moscow’s mouthpieces warn that Russian relations with President-Elect Sarkozy’s France will be “amicable, but lack warmth,” look dubiously at his preference for closer diplomacy with the USA, rather than the neo-Soviet Union, and lament the departure of “conservative” Russophile President Jacques Chirac.
Russian analysts warily optimistic over Sarkozy win
17:2407/ 05/ 2007
MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) – Nicolas Sarkozy’s victory in France’s presidential polls Sunday is unlikely to influence the country’s traditionally amicable relations with Russia, but they may lack warmth, Russian analysts said in post-election comments.
Conservative Sarkozy won 53% of the vote, against 47% for Socialist Segolene Royal.
Sarkozy, who served as finance and interior minister in Jacques Chirac’s outgoing government, is an advocate of liberal economic reforms and tough policies on crime and immigration. He opposes further European Union expansion, but is a staunch champion of trans-Atlantic integration. His vision for France’s policy regarding Russia is not immediately clear.
In an interview ahead of the May 6 runoff, Sarkozy said, “If you asked me which of the [two] countries France will have closer relations with – the United States or Russia, known to us for its Chechen war -‘the U.S.’ would be my answer.”
Speaking to Europe 1 radio, he said that if elected France’s next president, he would raise the issue with President Vladimir Putin, as “Russian democracy has progress to make.”
The remarks alerted France watchers in Russia, making some predict a chill in the relations with the Kremlin, accused by human rights organizations of abuses in Chechnya, where Moscow has been intermittently waging a war against separatist militants since 1994.
Leonid Slutsky, second in charge of the international relations committee in parliament’s State Duma lower house, described Sarkozy’s pronouncements on Russia as “dubious.”
Strategic Analysis Institute Director Alexander Konovalov, however, downplayed their possible impact on relations between the two countries: “Both Sarkozy and Royal have taken issue with Russia on human rights and European values. But we’ll remain among France’s major partners, as has historically been the case.”
Vyacheslav Nikonov, head of the Politika think tank, said that under Sarkozy, relations will, perhaps, lack the warmth of his predecessor, Chirac.
“Unlike Jacques Chirac, Sarkozy has no close personal relations with the Russian leadership,” Nikonov said. “There is no reason therefore to expect a quick rapprochement between Russia and France, especially given that Russia’s relations with NATO and the European Union, of which France is part, are far from brilliant.”
Chirac has been friends with Putin, and both were allied in their opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But Sarkozy, belonging to the same Conservative UMP party as Chirac, seeks to repair the trans-Atlantic rift caused by the Iraq war, and has already signaled to President George W. Bush that Washington could rely on the friendship of France.
According to International Security Center Director Alexei Arbatov, “France will be pursuing closer cooperation between the European Union and the U.S., and will support the U.S. in its increasingly aggressive, heavy handed global policies.”
Bernard Owen, the head of France’s Comparative Elections Study Center, whose own political science research focuses on Russia, said major changes in French-Russian relations are unlikely as “Russia is an important country and one to be reckoned with.”
He put Sarkozy’s comments on Chechnya down to his lack of knowledge of the real situation.
“Me personally, I think he is not informed well enough about developments in Chechnya,” Owen said in a RIA Novosti interview.
Senior Russian lawmakers also said French-Russian relations are unlikely to suffer under Sarkozy, but predicted his pro-American stance would make France less independent in its international policies.
“Sarkozy’s victory gives reason to believe relations between Russia and France will be at least as steady, but I hope they will develop further,” said the speaker of Russia’s lower house, Boris Gryzlov.
He is the leader of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, with which Sarkozy’s Union pour un Mouvement Populaire has long-standing ties. UMP representatives attended United Russia’s national congress last December, at which Gryzlov’s party approved an action plan in the lead up to a legislative election set for late 2007.
In France, however, quite a few people seem concerned about where Sarkozy’s tough style may leave them. His Socialist rival warned ahead of the runoff ballot that the 52-year-old hardliner would bring in a climate of brutality if elected.
Indeed, France’s new leader has been hugely unpopular with North African immigrants since he ordered the violent suppression of riots in the fall of 2005 when serving as interior minister.
Following Sarkozy’s election this Sunday, youths from immigrant communities torched cars and clashed with police in protest. Overnight, about 35 cars were reportedly set on fire in Paris alone, and 79 people were detained for taking part in the protests. According to official French statistics, a total of 172 automobiles were set alight in the central Ile de France province.