Could Nicolas Sarkozy be preparing to smite the Left with le coup de Jarnac* that Mitterrand (who was born in Jarnac) used against the Right back in the 80s? Le Monde reports that in the plane back from Beirut, there was discussion among France's political elite of the possibility that Sarkozy will institute a system of single-round proportional voting for the 2010 regional elections. This would provide an opening for the parties of the extreme left, especially Olivier Besancenot and the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste, to capture seats from the PS. The Fondation Jean-Jaurès sees a real possibility that the Left will henceforth be irrevocably split between "social liberal" and "anticapitalist" factions.
*coup de Jarnac: see here. Mitterrand used proportional representation to enable the Front National to take seats away from the RPR. It was an effective but perfidious tactic that encouraged the growth of Le Pen's party. Language lawyers might argue that I should have used coup fourré or coup bas rather than coup de Jarnac, but the coincidence with Mitterrand's birthplace forced my hand.