Friday, November 6, 2009

Sarkozy at midterm: a British look

A reader suggested this assessment from the FT of where Sarko stands:

Perhaps it is no surprise that disillusionment is setting in at his term’s halfway stage. It is even more understandable as the reforms going through parliament strike at the heart of lawmakers’ vested interests. But there may be more to the unruliness than mere mid-term malaise or difficult reform. In truth, Mr Sarkozy seems to be falling victim to the contradictions he has created in his reform programme and in his style of government.

5 comments:

meshplate said...

"Either Mr Sarkozy must step back and assume the traditional role of a French president, leaving his ministers to make domestic policy decisions and to take the flak. Or he will have to go the whole hog and simply admit that France has become a US-style presidential regime. But, to be consistent, that would mean abolishing the role of prime minister." For Sarko, obviously option 1 would be the most prudent, but option 2 is clearly the most attractive. I'm betting on option 2. Then let's sit back and watch the fur fly!

Unknown said...

meshplate, I don't think so. Fillon may not be very visible, but I think he is useful to Sarko as a bridge to the party whom he trusts more than Copé, who is closer to his own thinking than Raffarin, and who is more seasoned than Bertrand. It would be hard to find a more discreet prime minister, and yesterday Sarko alluded to a possible remaniement in March but explicitly added that this did not mean replacing the prime minister. Would he have said that if he were thinking of abolishing the position altogether?

meshplate said...

Art, I don't think we are reading Peggy Hollinger's last comment in the same way. You read it to mean literally abolishing the office of the prime minister; I read it to mean abolish the ROLE of the prime minister, i.e. keep the position, but diminish its scope as much as possible. To do that would still be cause for great consternation. I agree he most probably will not dismiss Fillon.

Unknown said...

Ah, I see, well, yes, I agree, and I think he's already done pretty well done away with the role. As I see it, he uses Fillon as his link to a certain wing of the UMP.

meshplate said...

I am not familiar with the processes or limitations on constitutional amendments, but were Sarko able to circumscribe the powers of the prime minister, given growing resentment for his style of governance, it would be cause for enormous national outcry.