Thursday, May 03, 2007

They Think It's All Over

The two contenders for the French presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal, have taken part in a head-to-head TV debate ahead of Sunday's run-off vote. Neither managed to do or say something likely to change the result, with polls still giving the centre-right Sarkozy a healthy lead over his Socialist rival. It really is just about all over.

So we may as well start wondering what kind of leader Sarkozy will be. If you had to compare him to a British politician he'd be John Reid, a tough talker with a barely-disguised arrogant streak. But it's not Mr Reid he'll have to work with once he takes office, but Gordon Brown, as well as Germany's Angela Merkel.

Whenever new leaders are elected in major countries like France and Britain, we always hear about how things are going to be different, as the individuals seek to put their own stamp on their office. In this case, the signs are that the Brown-Sarkozy-Merkel trio will agree not to pursue the dead EU Constitution, instead potentially striking a deal for a scaled-back set of rules perhaps at the EU summit in June (before Brown even takes power). To take just another example, Sarkozy is likely to leave Jacques Chirac's anti-Americanism behind, at least a little bit, and follow Chancellor Merkel in at least being more open to co-operation with the US on Iraq, Afghanistan and everything else. It won't be long before everyone falls out again, as leaders are prone to do, but a few things will probably get done while the honeymoon lasts.

1 comment:

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