Feature

France: The quick demise of ‘Sarkozyism’

In regional elections that ended last weekend, voters left Sarkozy’s center-right UMP party in control of just one of France’s 22 regions, said Laurent Joffrin in Libération.

Laurent Joffrin
Libération

This should wipe the supercilious sneer off French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s face, said Laurent Joffrin. In regional elections that ended last weekend, voters left Sarkozy’s center-right UMP party in control of just one of France’s 22 regions. The Socialist-led opposition was the big winner, with 54 percent of the vote to the UMP’s 36 percent. Those results call into question the very essence of Sarkozyism. “Sarkozy’s style, Sarkozy’s politics, Sarkozy’s strategy”—all of it is now fair game, even within his own party.

When Sarkozy took office in 2007, he was seen as a conservative crusader, ready to take on entrenched special interests, particularly the unions. Now, he is deemed “too close to big financial interests” and too authoritarian. Amid the economic insecurity caused by the global recession, Sarkozy has done little to inspire workers’ confidence that they will keep their jobs. In fact, he has spent much of his term promoting policies that make it easier to fire people. Yes, it’s too early to gloat that Sarkozy won’t be re-elected in 2012. After all, “one swallow does not make a progressive spring. Still, this was one giant swallow.”

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