Monday, October 09, 2006

Chirac Plotting Against Sarkozy to Tout Royal?

The Financial Times has an interesting [$] piece which basically has the French presidential race pitted between two mavericks who are both defying their elitist party barons and moving toward the center-left or center-right to capture the lion's share of voters.

But author Quentin Peel believes that the Big Iguana of French politics, current prez of France [who dementedly still believes he might make a comeback with single-digit approval rates], will do a repeat of the 1981 election, when Chirac was mayor of Paris and secretly maneouvered fellow-Gaullist Prez Valery Giscard D'Estaing to electoral defeat. His motive: elect Francois Mitterand Socialist Prez and then get elected himself. The long-suspected colossal egomaniac's role was admitted to Giscard by Mitterand on his deathbed, and Giscard now is warning Sarkozy that the giant reptile-in-chief may be planning a repeat, hoping to get Royal elected instead of Sarkozy, and then seeing Chirac's boy-page mentored favorite, over whom he has doted for decades, the unctuous fop Dominique Villepin, succeed Royal as Prez.

Lest this sound far-fetched, the history of France abounds with such political plotting---De Gaulle and the UMP are just the latest in a succession of republics[5], empires[3], royaumes [2], and Vichy-type interludes[1] speckling the historical landscape. The French political system is top-heavy with ancient living fossils, like Chirac and his socialist counterparts, who have snobbery and elite Ecoles in their resume.

I met Giscard when he was Finance Minister and Peter Tarnoff, the first American to graduate from Ecole Nationale d'Administration, introduced me during the soon-prez-to-be's visit to Lyon in the early seventies. Giscard himself is a bit of a poseur, but his rendition of Chirac's party-treason in '81fits with the rest of the monstrous ego of this charlatan mountebank, who makes John Kerry look humble in comparison. And his proposed foppish successor, Dominique, is a chip off the old monster's block.

I hope Sarkozy can overcome the moral and political rot infecting France to its very bones and surmount the insurrection behind the scenes in his own UMP party. France doesn't need decades more of dirigiste elitist government from the Elysee Palace, but some sort of accommodation with its own people.

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