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France's Next President

photo, beatles story club band

The 'Beatles Story,' appearing live at the
Petit Journal Montparnasse.

Hard Day Night

Paris:– Monday, 19. September 2005:– Obviously a serious story such as the French presidential election in the spring of 2007 can't be left in the hands of offshore news organizations such as the wire services or Radio France International. They leave a lot out.

Before getting to the names of the candidates, French news fans should know that elections here have short, fixed periods for official campaigns. Typically these will be six weeks before voting day. During this time there may be public meetings, debates on TV, ads plastered on official spaces outside polling stations, and blocks of near–institutional equal–time, uniformly boring ads for parties on TV in the ten minutes before the news at 20:00. All electoral activity ceases at the end of Friday before the Sunday polling.

On the other hand, all the speculation about the presidential election 18 months off is driving me batty. To see, hear or read the news you might think that there is only one old president who might be feeling a tiny bit tuckered out, and a young bike–riding, short, little go–getter bursting with conservative energy. This is an understatement.

Today's Candidates for President of France in 2007

On the Right

Jacques Chirac – as the sitting president he is assumed to be a candidate unless he is dead. Party: UMP.
Nicolas Sarkozy – the current minister of the interior, president of the UMP , and self–declared candidate of the UMP. Motto: "Nothing can stop me." Suspected of being capable of self-exploding.
Dominique de Villepin – current prime minister, member of the UMP. Dominique hasn't said he's running, he hasn't been chosen by the UMP. Why is he acting tall and suavely. Is it just to bother short, sharp Sarkozy?
François Bayrou – leader of the center–right, smaller UDF party. Nominally allied with the UMP. A survivor, undeclared candidate.
Philippe de Villiers – leader of some strange, further right–wing party and anti–European, anti–Turk, pro–hunter, and making a pitch for the National Front voters. Philippe says he is a candidate.
Jean-Marie Le Pen – the everlasting leader of the ultra right–wing National Front party; who lost in the run–off against Chirac in 2002. Who else is an eternal candidate? Specialty – destroying the number two in the FN even if it is his daughter, Marine Le Pen. Professional candidate.

On the Left

François Hollande – secretary general of the Socialist Party, looks like an provincial insurance agent. Masterminded Jospin's defeat in 2002 but Jospin took blame. Masterminded PS support of European constitution vote. Is currently masterminding split in PS over the European vote. Not declared as a candidate but will be if still alive.
Laurent Fabius – ex–number 2 in the PS, ex–prime minister, advocated 'Non' vote on European constitution. If he can't get out of hell's anteroom, he will get no support from the PS. Otherwise, he'll be a candidate.
Jack Lang – older Mitterrandista, one–time Min of Cult, instigator of Technoparade, ex–mayor of Blois, popular PS hack.
Dominique Strauss–Kahn – heavy–duty PS dude, ex–minister, heavy.
Martine Aubrey – PS passionaria, bulldozed 35–hour workweek, from PS stronghold in Lille. Father was in wrong position, time, to be president. These three – Lang, DSK and Aubrey – are going around like the Three Musketeers, backing up Hollande. Any could be a losing candidate.
Bertrand Delanoë –mayor of Paris, head of city PS, amassing credits, taking care of voters, runs a tight machine, nominal Hollande supporter, mainstream. Not a PS candidate but a natural, except for being mayor of PARIS and all it implies for rest of France.
Henri Emmanuelli – leftist socialist, anti–Euro constitution – must have appeal with lefties, Communists and other real socialists. Not a candidate, but...
NPS – Nouveau Parti Socialiste – this is a group of young dudes, all much younger and better–looking than any of the above, and a new wave of socialists. These have potential, but more likely for 2017, 2022, etc. To watch.
José Bové – ex–spokesman for the Peasants Federation, but active with the small farmers and anti–OGM lefties. Could be close to the greenies – Les Verts. Saw a note that he's thinking of being a candidate.
Les Verts – will definitely have a candidate, but who? Have several personalities.
Marie George Buffet – head of the French PC. Buffeted by communist decline but out there shaking hands, keeping the troops warm, marching in the parades. She will be the PC candidate. Popular on the left.
Arlette Laguillier – eternal leader of the Trotskists, Lutte Ouvriere, eternal presidential candidate. Still alive. Most likely will set record for number of times being candidate if she hasn't already. Also still on the barricades.
Olivier Besancenot – postman and candidate of the LCR, Communist Revolutionary League, anarchists. Delivering mail, active, and still young. A candidate for certain; going to try for Arlette's record between now and 2040.

Wild Cards

On the right, Alain Juppé – is still out in the wilderness while courts decide whether he can play with the big boys again. Ex–prime minister, ex–mayor of Bordeaux, has lots of political marbles but might not have a lucky touch. Could be an UMP choice if Dominique and Nicolas are ripping out each other's throats, and Jacques says it's okay.
On the left,Lionel Jospin – retired from politics after the 2002 presidential schmozzle. He makes rare excursions to rally the leftist faithful, such as for the European constitution vote. Otherwise he doesn't take sides, keeps his hands clean. If the PS keeps self–destructing, Lionel is a knight on a white horse.

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