Sunday, November 1, 2009

More UMP Trouble

If there is a fronde among older UMP males (senators--see previous post), there is a rumble among younger UMP women: Rama Yade has stirred the ire (envy?) of her somewhat senior rivals Morano, Pécresse, and Bachelot. Yade is of course more popular with the general public than any of the others.

"Nos convictions d'élus enracinés"

Jean-Pierre Raffarin is leading a revolt within the UMP against the reform of the taxe professionnelle. This is serious business for the local UMP officials, who stand to lose much of their revenue base. And this is a crunch that goes to the heart of the UMP coalition: Sarkozy and his friends are close to big business tycoons, but les gros bataillons of the UMP are the legions of small-town businessmen whose interests do not always align with big business, the loi Raffarin (aimed at big-box stores that compete with small local commerce) being a case in point. So it's not surprising to find Raffarin on the barricades here.

This is tricky territory for the government as well as for the rebel senators, whose clout depends on their influence over the UMP at the national level and whose interests are not entirely aligned with their local constituencies, either: small business would be happy with a lower taxe professionnelle if it could be assured of continued protection and no decrease in services. But it cannot.

Alain Juppé, who knows both sides of this dilemma as well as Raffarin and whose énarque instincts probably would have put him on the side of the reform if he weren't also mayor of Bordeaux, has already disclosed his own reservations. So we have an interesting tension here within the UMP, and it will take some political skill for Sarko to arbitrate this dispute. It should also be interesting to watch the maneuvering of the ambitious "youth" of the party, such as Copé and Bertrand, who will be vying for the favor of the rebels--no longer "barons" as in the halcyon days of Gaullism but still people with influence over the post-Sarko succession.

More comment here. JDD. Raffarin column.