Here we go… April 22 will be a Very Big Day for French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Have a look at this article from the Sydney Herald to get a sense of the political climate in France at the moment:
“French voters will cast their ballots tomorrow in the first round of a presidential election that could give France its first Socialist leader in nearly two decades. The campaign has entered its final phase as Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy and his main rival, Socialist Francois Hollande, hold their final rallies.
Mr Sarkozy is in deep trouble and is looking, for now, as if he could be the first one-term French president since 1981. He appears to be running neck and neck with Mr Hollande, his main challenger, in tomorrow’s first round of voting, when 10 candidates are competing. But all the opinion polls show Mr Sarkozy losing to Mr Hollande in a face-off two weeks later.
Even more troubling for Mr Sarkozy, the polls indicate that many French simply do not like him and that many will vote in the second round for the bland Mr Hollande or simply stay home rather than see Mr Sarkozy back in the Elysee Palace for another five years.”
Yow. So what went so wrong with Sarkozy’s presidency?
Well. Sticking to this campaign alone, we can turn to AFP, which gave a rundown of Sarkozy’s many missteps along the way:
“The latest polls ahead of Sunday’s first round point to a resounding win for the Socialist in the May 6 run-off against Sarkozy, dogged by criticism his flashy and overbearing style lowered the standing of France’s head of state.
‘Perhaps the mistake I made at the start of my mandate is not understanding the symbolic dimension of the president’s role and not being solemn enough in my acts,’ a contrite Sarkozy told RTL radio.
‘A mistake for which I would like to apologise or explain myself and which I will not make again,’ he said, insisting: ‘Now, I know the job.’
The vote is seen by many as a referendum on the unpopular Sarkozy, who feted tycoons and married supermodel Carla Bruni during his five-year term, rather than a chance to choose France’s first Socialist president since 1995 …
Sarkozy was briefly buoyed by security fears in the wake of last month’s Al-Qaeda-inspired killings in Toulouse and has vowed to cut immigration, but the economy has been the overwhelming issue throughout the campaign.
Unemployment is at a 12-year high, the eurozone debt crisis has shaken the economy and French citizens’ purchasing power is diminishing.”
What do you think? Does Sarkozy stand a chance, or is it time for socialism?
Read more about French politics in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!