2. Sarkozy did a great job of positioning himself as the candidate if you wanted change, even though he was part of the sitting government earlier this year.
3. Royal’s economic platform was portrayed as too weak and unrealistic; Sarkozy seemed to be the guy who could take care of France’s economic problems.
Moreover, one can discuss if Royal got the backing she deserved in her own party, the fact that she was the first female candidate to become President, the extent to which Sarkozy flirted openly with Le Pen’s voters and used a disgusting populist, anti-immigration rhetoric, etc etc.
However, Sarkozy’s victory also scares me in more than one way:
1. Sarkozy doesn’t think that Turkey belongs in Europe and has promised a referendum on Turkish EU-membership. I would like to see Turkey in the EU, when the Copenhagen criteria are met etc etc, but on this road a major stumbling block just crashed down.
2. Sarkozy doesn’t support the original European Constitution; he prefers a mini-draft, in which a lot of the social and political gains made in the original draft will be dropped. So, by first rejecting the original Constitution and then losing the presidential election, the French left really owes the European left a huge excuse. Why, comrades?
3. Sarkozy’s populist, anti-immigration rhetoric may move the European political climate to the right on issues relating to citizens rights, integration, immigration, migration etc.
4. One of EU:s most important countries, the great country of France, with a unique veto in the UN Security Council, will now continue to be in the hands of the right. Merkel in Germany, Sarkozy in France, Cameron beats Brown in Britain and then the Prodi’s government falls into pieces… That is not a nice scenario for the European left.
5. I have just never trusted the French right.
However, two things might be good.
1. The French Socialist Party might finally have its Bad Godesberg moment and shape up its economic outlook on the world and become a normal, European social democratic party when it comes to economic policy.
2. Sarkozy might implement a few needed economic reforms, which in the end will benefit working people and people desperately looking for jobs.
OK, that’s my take on it, time to hit the streets of Washington DC again.