Sarkozy Squeaker A Nod Toward Vichy France and War

   The run-off victory of Nicolas Sarkozy, child of a Hungarian immigrant, as President of France, is being touted as a solid win for the right, 53.06% to Segolene Royal's 46.94%.  When the blank and spoiled ballots are included in the tally, Sarkozy's percentage falls to 50.84%, a far from overwhelming margin of victory.  An additional 16.03% of the electorate declined to vote at all.

   The final official tally is Sarkozy 18,983,383 to Royal's 16,790,830 with 1,568,305 blank and spoiled ballots.  Another 7,129,680 of the 44,472,198 eligible voters stayed home.

   The predictions of a right-wing sweep of next month's legislative elections is pre-mature.  If they do materialize, however, it will be a giant step along the path to all-out war with the Moslems.  Sarkozy is against Turkey's entrance into the European Union, was a hard-nosed Interior Minister and famously called the overwhelmingly immigrant rioters "scum."  He wants to improve relations with United States president George W. Bush.  Sarkozy's victory, coupled with the current crisis over Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's ascension to the Presidency, and the reappearance of violence in Algeria, the former French colony in North Africa, shows that the violence in the Middle East could easily spread westward and even into France itself, with its huge immigrant population.  Segolene Royal predicted that violence would come from a Sarkozy victory, and unless everyone is very careful, she will certainly turn out to be right. 

   This is a delicate moment in post-war European history.  Presidential elections turn on foreign, not domestic policy.  Hopefully, (and I think certainly), the French people will clip Sarkozy's wings in the parliamentary elections next month by strengthening the left and forcing him to govern in a coalition.  A 50.8% share of the vote may be more a sign of Royal's clear inadequacies than Sarkozy's strengths.  Furthermore, the fact that Royal was born in Senegal and Sarkozy is the child of Hungarian immigrants, shows that, in spite of the immigrants from France's empire in Africa and around the world, its future still lies in Europe.  The French presidential election produced a high turnout for two mediocre candidates.

   Isadora Duncan, the great dancer, once said, "If there is a God, surely, she is a great director."  Perhaps, sadly, the coincidence of Sarkozy's squeaker, Abdullah Gul's failure to become President of Turkey, the crash of the Kenyan airliner after taking-off from Yaounde, Cameroon, the former French colony, and Senegal-born Segolene Royal's failed bid to become the first woman president of France, shows that the artists have a better understanding of how to look at historical forces than the political scientists and politicians.

Link to Official French Election Results

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf