Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Spending His Political Capital

Politicians never get as big a chance to make an impact as they do during their first few months in power. Many, such as Tony Blair, later moan that they weren't nearly bold enough when first elected, and regret they didn't attempt serious reforms when the going was good. Not France's Nicolas Sarkozy. He's facing strike action among everyone from railway workers, to newspaper distributors, to students, in protest at various economic reforms he wants to introduce to try to bring France out of its current malaise and towards a future of longer hours and (hopefully, for him) a stronger economy.

As his predecessor Jacques Chirac found, it can be difficult to force through these kinds of measures once you've been in office for a while, and French strikers have a habit of being pretty effective. But as Sarkozy was elected promising to carry out such reforms, he obviously feels he's got to press straight ahead with them. He may succeed, but he'll find at the end of a bruising battle that he's spent most of his political capital. The honeymoon, as they say, is over.

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