Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sarko, the Extreme Right, and the Municipal Elections

Pres. Sarkozy, who enjoyed the approval of 88 percent of Front National voters immediately after his election, has now plummeted to a 43 percent approval rating among that group. Many are expected to abstain in the upcoming municipal elections, and this does not bode well for the UMP. As Sarkozy candidly told Yasmina Reza, he could not have won had he not seduced a substantial number of FN-identified voters.

The reasons for the disaffection are numerous. The Attali report, which Sarkozy seemed to approve, called for more open borders, a fact that did not please voters who believe that there are "already too many immigrants in France." Some of this decline was inevitable: many of these Le Pen sympathizers are small businesspeople who thought that Sarkozy would increase old-age benefits and aid their social category in other material ways, but instead they must contend with higher fuel prices, increased competition from large retail chains, questions about corporatist protections (on hairdressers, for instance), anti-tobacco laws (very unpopular in small towns), etc. But most of all there is the matter of the presidential style. Le Pen, who initially had some kinds words for Sarko, has denounced him as President "fling-fling flon-flon" (Le Pen apparently isn't up on hip-hop lingo, so he didn't get "bling-bling" quite right, or perhaps he just couldn't resist the alliteration). One can imagine that shopkeepers who thrilled to campaign panegyrics in favor of la valeur travail are disappointed by the example of a president who takes luxury vacations and perhaps dismayed by the turn his private life has taken.

In any case, the implications for municipal elections, particularly in eastern France, are clear.

3 comments:

Christine said...

Le Pen is actually one of the last politicians in France that masters correctly, and even brilliantly the french language. You can be sure that his "fling-fling" was no mistake! Don't forget that it was Libération, representative of the "gauche bobo" (Le Pen's greatest hate beside Chirac), that popularized the expression "Président Bling-Bling"...

Anonymous said...

What is this talking about?

He was not making reference to "bling-bling" ... rather, it was to "fling-fling flon flon", which is another matter; If some did did not catch the reference, that's another thing.

Did those who did not catch it, catch it now?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

No, perhaps you'd be be good enough to explain.