Monday, February 28, 2011

What's Left?

Alain Juppé, who has been outspokenly critical of several aspects of Sarkozy's presidency, most notably the attack on the Roms last summer, is now foreign minister. And the post was reportedly offered to archrival Villepin, who turned it down. Jean-François Copé, a man who is too glibly supple in his positions to be considered a critic of Sarkozy--or perhaps who should be seen as an enemy of everyone but himself--is now the head of the party. An embittered Jean-Louis Borloo remains outside the government, and Fillon remains inside, which is not necessarily where the president wanted him. So Sarkozy is looking increasingly isolated among the heavyweights of the right.

In addition, one way of interpreting the shift of Guéant, une créature of Sarkozy, from the Élysée inner circle to the post of interior minister, is that Juppé demanded it, because Guéant was seen as Sarkozy's man on foreign policy within the palace (along with Levitte, who has largely dropped out of sight). If true, then Juppé will have eliminated a potential source of friction and established his independence from the start.

The days of the hyperpresidency are long since forgotten. Sarko no longer has the stage to himself, and most of his recent appearances have been pratfalls. He has become the comic relief; the serious men are back in charge.


Kirk said...

You know, I've often read these criticisms about Guéant being a backroom politician with no experience. But on France 2 news last night, they pointed out that he does, in fact, have a lot of experience, at least for this job. He was a prefect, ran the police nationale, and had a number of other posts that deal with the police and related issues. So, while his past 9 years have been as Sarkzoy's right-hand man, he is far more qualified for his job than, say, Longuet is for defense minister.

Arthur Goldhammer said...

I didn't say Guéant had no experience. On the contrary, he has plenty and is especially well prepared to run the interior ministry. Even in foreign policy, he has acquired considerable experience over the past few years. I regard him as quite competent, and more competent than the man he replaces at interior by far. He nevertheless remains une créature de Sarkozy.

Mark said...

"The days of the hyperpresidency are long since forgotten. Sarko no longer has the stage to himself." Good for Juppé and it must have been fun for Villepin to say no, but at the same time how could he have said yes. A progress for democracy and a sharing of powers. As it should. Let's keep the megalo clown back in his box.

Anonymous said...

Guéant is indeed a Sarkocreature, who also used to be head of secret services; and he's now at "intérieur". Hm.