Monday, April 23, 2007

France Poised for Political Change

After the first round of the French presidential elections, the run-off will be between the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and the socialist Ségolène Royal.
For months, the candidates' buzzword has been "change". Mr Sarkozy has preached ... loosened labour laws and easier hiring and firing in a more free market economy. A hardliner on crime, he wants tighter laws on delinquency and more convictions, and has promised to restore France's "pride in itself", setting up a ministry for "immigration and national identity". His supporters say he is the only one strong enough to curb strikes and force economic change; his detractors say he is divisive and dangerously authoritarian.

Ségolène Royal has run on "less brutal" change that would preserve social safety nets and raise the minimum wage, promising to "listen to the people" and reform the monarchic, all-powerful presidency and weak parliament. Supporters say she understands people's everyday concerns; critics say she lacks political experience and cannot unite her fractured party. |Guardian|(emphasis added)

I think France is an important country in this day and age. France has a large Muslim population but they are trapped in the estates, which I understand to be similar to ghettos in the US. The rejection of le Pen as candidate is hopefully a good sign that race relations can be repaired in France.

Image courtesty Portable Planet

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