Friday, April 8, 2011

Zozo's Revenge

"Borloo, c'est un zozo," François Fillon is supposed to have said back when Borloo was rumored to be in line for Fillon's job. Now Borloo has his revenge. His move yesterday to quit the UMP and explore the opening for a new party in the center is a finger in the eye of Sarkozy--and in the eyes of the squabbling heirs apparent of the tattered Sarkozy mantle, Fillon and Copé. A Borloo candidacy would increase the probability of a Sarkozy defeat in the first round and possibly increase the likelihood of a victory for Marine Le Pen--and therefore of the Left in the second round. So what is Borloo's game? Does he think he can create enough of a dynamic in the center actually to prevail in the first round? It's possible but not entirely in his control: this would depend on the nominee of the Left. If DSK is chosen, I can't see this happening.

So assume that DSK does run? What does Borloo want? It would be plausible to assume that he'd want some kind of promise from Sarkozy in return for ending his candidacy after a decent interval and returning to the fold. Prime minister? Would he really want to serve under Sarko after his public humiliation last year? Perhaps. Politicians are prepared to swallow a great deal in return for power. A stint as prime minister would make Borloo more présidentiable in 2017. But maybe his candidacy is more visceral than that. Maybe he just wants to screw Sarko after having been seduced and abandoned.

It has now become impossible to describe the French presidential field to anyone who hasn't been following French politics for a while. There are just too many variables. This can't last. After DSK gets in or out, I would look forward to some sort of simplification.


FrédéricLN said...

Well, if there is no clear reason for this move, we should come back to the basics of politics. What's the primary aim of any politician? Survival. What's the weapon for survival? Strength, and fear (Ivory Coast's Charles Blé Goudé, around end of March 2001:;d=1 ).

What can communicate a feeling of strength, and foster fear among the politician community, when a presidential campaign is on? A candidacy that raises support among opinion leaders.

I can't see what else would work. Those who can't stand as impressive presidential candidates in 2012, are definitely "des seconds couteaux".

Won, Philippe et Raphael said...

12 candidates in 2007...

in 2012?
Besancenot NPa: 1,
Laguiller's heir: 1
Front de gauche/PC: 1
Ecologists: 1
Borloo: 1
Bayrou: 1
de Villepin:1
Boutin: 1
Chasse et Peche: 1
already 14!!

french political landscape is more than chaotic!

Anonymous said...

I think it's a calculated move: Since UMP is not working anymore as a winning combination (cf.last elections), especially with the problem of 1st round/2nd round that even the upping of eligibility for 2nd round in cantonales didn't solve, they've got to corner the various constituencies on the right.
Sarkozy takes on the right/radical right, Borloo takes on the moderate right. Sarkozy aims at 20-25%, Borloo gets about 8-12% (Villepin gets 8%). At the second round level Borloo calls for a Sarkozy vote - there's no way Borloo would call for a candidate from the left. And presto! Sarkozy, who's currently without "rapport de voix" (?vote reporting?) gets some built-in votes that would otherwise stay at home. Borloo helps Sarkozy win. In exchange, Borloo becomes Prime Minister. In order to make the whole thing credible, he needed to separate himself from the government early enough to create his own party, to neutralize Dominique de Villepin, and to attract those on the center-right who are disgusted with the current hate on the "aliens among us."

If you see the situation as an agreement between Borloo and Sarkozy, their candidacies as complementary, it makes more sense than "fury and the minister scorned".

Rama Yade, sent by Borloo to the F2 program "13h15 le dimanche", the big political program of the weekend, refused to criticize Nicolas Sarkozy. She adds "those who support a political agreement with the FN are a minority, but right now they're listened to. Other groups within the UMP want to be heard, too."
Aurélie Filippetti responds "Come on, for the 2nd round, wouldn't JL Borloo call a vote for Nicolas Sarkozy?"
Rama Yade lowers her chin but we see a little smile. Finaly she says "Well, we know where we live.... But you can't predict what we'd do."
"we know where we live" in French, as far as I can tell means "we know where we belong".


Anonymous said...

An interesting post about Zozzo, by a very, very good "French Politics" blogger. In French but worth the effort.

BTW, love your title. :)

Anonymous said...
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