Friday, May 18, 2007

flog erections, as they say in China

Much has been written, by, among others, me, about the French elections. Needless to say things didn't go quite as I'd hoped they would, as Nicolas Sarkozy defeated Ségolène Royal fairly comfortably in the second round run-off - though the age-group breakdown of how the votes were cast is interesting.

One thing which is, perhaps, a cause for optimism is Sarkozy's relative youth. France is a country which has been governed by old men for the last quarter of a century - Jacques Chirac, the outgoing president, is 74, while his predecessor François Mitterrand was 78 when he stepped down. In fact the last man to become president while younger than Sarkozy was Valéry Giscard d'Estaing who was 48 (Sarkozy is 52) when he was elected in 1974. Giscard d'Estaing is also interesting for having a name that sounds like someone twanging a woman's knicker elastic - the pull-back with the index finger on the "Giscaaaaaaard" and the release on the "D'EstAING"!

Sarkozy is clearly playing on his perceived youthful virility by being photographed going out jogging in the Bois De Boulogne with his new Prime Minister, François Fillon. Whose wife, interestingly, is from Llanover near Abergavenny, about 20 miles from where my parents live.

And speaking of spouses, one of the unspoken issues of the election has been the relationships between the two protagonists and their respective spouses. Sarkozy's story is the more juicy and interesting: his wife Cécilia having a very high-profile affair with another man a couple of years ago, a reconciliation, then another apparent split during the last stages of the election campaign, only for her to turn up at his shoulder for his acceptance speech the other day.

Now you might argue that this is all tittle-tattle and irrelevant to the serious issues affecting the presidential campaign, but it's interesting to note, as the article above does, that Sarkozy's language became notably more confrontational and intolerant during his wife's absences; the infamous remarks about clearing young criminals off the streets of the banlieues with a Kärcher pressure-washer were made during her absence. I'm not sure the personal and the political can be divorced (so to speak) that easily (as the stringent French privacy laws seem to assume); life is a bit more messy and inconvenient than that.

Ségolène Royal's home life is of interest as well, since her long-term partner (and father of her four children) is Socialist party chairman François Hollande. There were rumours of conflict after the election campaign was over, hardly surprisingly since Hollande himself could very well have put himself forward as a Socialist candidate, but decided to step aside in favour of his partner. The late-night chats over a mug of cocoa after the elction defeat must have been interesting.


Anonymous said...

Buzz Maillard Hebdo : Cécilia Sarkozy number 3 this week

Have a look at


Anonymous said...

Of course I have I feel obliged to write something as I've been in this country far too long...
So Ségo rushed off to Tunisia after all of this, and ON HER OWN.. No François Hollande with her. Everyone is talking about that.
And everyone is also talking about what kind of French "First Lady" Cécila is going to be? I reckon she'll stand by Sarko, as she'll be lapping up the First Lady status..
Oh, and Mr "Médecin Sans Frontières" is being slated for being a turncoat by joining Sarko.
Oh, and Sarko is busy jogging ALL THE TIME, it's this new "I is a young President and I is going to shake up this country" attitude.
Oh, and Fraçois Fillon reminds me of Professor Snape. But maybe that's just my problem.

Anonymous said...

Final comment: Sarko legged it off to have some jet set cruise on a huge yacht off the coast of Malta and got SLATED for his jet set shenanigans. The Frogs were up in arms and asking "WHO HAS PAID FOR THIS JET SET HOLIDAY?"

Oh and just a question for you: wouldn't you have liked to have been the one rubbing suntan lotion into Ségo on her lonesome Tunisian holiday break?

electrichalibut said...

Well, rubbing something into her anyway. I expect she got a swarthy Bedouin tribesman to help her out.

electrichalibut said...

Today's Independent also makes the interesting point that, since Sarkozy lost the elction among the under-60s, another heatwave a la 2003 could kill off all the people who voted for him!