Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sarkozy vs. Hollande: Endgame?

Things are not looking good for either François Hollande or Nicolas Sarkozy to serve another term as president. Once again unemployment rose sharply in France--38,400 jobs lost last month, the most in a single month since 2013--and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how Hollande can meet his own condition for running again--to invert the unemployment curve.

As for Sarkozy, les petits juges he so reviles may finally have caught up with him. The cour de cassation validated the tapping of the burner phone he had rented in the name of Paul Bismuth, on which he is overheard discussing using his influence to obtain a post in Monaco for a court official who had leaked information to Sarkozy's lawyer about another corruption case in which he was allegedly involved. This clears the way for his trial on charges of influence peddling. Of course, the facts are already known--the contents of the wiretap having been leaked long ago--and that hasn't yet been enough to sink the former president. But his trial, if it occurs before the primaries, could affect the outcome. Of course, it might also be postponed until after the primaries, because the informal rule in France is that politicians aren't tried in the middle of an election campaign. But if he loses, he would then surely be tried in the period leading up to the presidential election. If he wins, he could get another postponement. Jail or the presidency--an interesting choice for voters.


Mitch Guthman said...

I don't think this actually does move us any closer to the endgame. For Sarkozy, it's always been about his grip on the party apparatus and whether he can manipulate the rules of the primary process so as to prevent his more popular rivals from overtaking him. Certainly, we've known for a long time that if the primary is genuinely open, Jupé will win overwhelmingly and probably in the second round, too.

We've all been watching things closing in on Sarkozy and there's been little doubt in my mind that if he can't achieve the immunity afforded by the Élysée, he is surely doomed to a richly deserved exile in the modern equivalent of Devil's Island. This decision perhaps makes the writing on the wall a bit clearer but I think Sarkozy has always understood that he either makes the second round against MLP over he's finally finished.

For Hollande, too, nothing has changed. There are still little rebellions nipping at his heels but I think his moment of real vulnerability has passed. If somehow the Gods miraculously propel him into the second round against MLP, he will have a small hope of resurrection but unless someone comes along to oust him, Hollande will simply wait for the guillotine to fall, putting him out of his misery and confirming his destruction of the Socialist Party.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Neuilly is rebelling against a Sarkozy order again wrt the primary???