Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gallo: Sign of the Times

The election of Max Gallo to the Académie Française has just been announced. This is an interesting sign of the times. Gallo is yet another former Socialist who jumped ship to back Sarkozy. Of course the elective affinity here was irresistible. As a writer, Gallo's subject of predilection has always been French national identity. In this interview with John Vinocur, dating from 1998, he complains that Mitterrand, under whom he served for a time as government spokesman, had declared that France's future lay with "Europe," but "no one feels that in their heart." In 1992 he joined with another Socialist renegade, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, to found the Citizens' Movement, a left nationalist group. Although Chevènement returned to the fold sufficiently this year to become one of Ségolène Royal's closest advisors, Gallo turned instead to Sarkozy.

Now Sarko is president and Gallo is in the Académie, after handily defeating Claude Imbert, the journalist. Aamin Malouf had been a candidate for the same seat but withdrew (now his election would have been interesting). So France has a president who is reminiscent of Bonaparte, and not just for his small stature, and an Academician who is a biographer of Napoleon (Villepin, the former prime minister, was his rival in the marketplace with a book about "the Hundred Days"). Both are sons of immigrants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that Sarko's friendship with the Likudniks might have influenced Gallo & Kuchner?