Shadows of 2007

I noted last week that Marine Le Pen could well shut out French President Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round.

Sure enough, I read this as an attempt, however clumsily, to win some of those culturally right-wing Front National voters back.  Sarkozy, as Minister of the Interior, co-opted Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the 2007 elections in an incredibly skillful way.

With Marine polling substantially higher than her father’s 10.4% in 2007, it’s clear that Sarkozy will sending some quiet, but sure, signals to FN voters to attract the support he’ll need in the first round to advance to the runoff.

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Meanwhile, Le Monde runs a short interview today with Ségolène Royal, following another interview in Libération.  Two highlights:

Sego really digs the knife into Sarkozy by praising his three right/Gaullist precedessors of the Fifth Republic for accomplishing more reform than Sarkozy, crediting Georges Pompidou with industrial policy reform and Valéry Giscard d’Estaing with social reform and abortion law changes. She even finds some nice words for Jacques Chirac’s foreign policy.

Georges Pompidou avait fait des choses sur l’industrie, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing a fait des réformes de société, l’IVG notamment, Jacques Chirac avait une certaine prestance sur la scène internationale.

The other highlight is what she said (or didn’t say) about the perhaps awkward relationship she has with Parti socialiste presidential nominee François Hollande, with whom she had four children until their split in 2006/2007.  Royal’s campaign for the nomination in 2012 fizzled, and she finished in fourth place with just under 7%, far behind Hollande and Martine Aubry.  Recently, as commentators noted Hollande’s sparingly few mentions of Royal in both his political and personal profiles, she warned him not to “zap” her out of the campaign.

If Hollande does win the presidency, it’s assumed that he will have to find a space for Royal– in the interview, she doesn’t rule out serving as a future President of the National Assembly.

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