Sunday, April 22, 2007

Exciting presidential race in France

It's down to Sarkozy and Royal. The next vote occurs May 6. The next two weeks will be fascinating in France as the focus shifts more intensely to these two candidates:
Aides to both candidates have predicted the second-round campaign will focus on two issues: Can Mr. Sarkozy appeal to centrist voters after a rightward drift during the first-round campaign? And can Ms. Royal win over skeptics who say she isn't fit for the job. "Nicolas will show off his capacity to act and deliver," said Patrick Balkany, a French lawmaker and a longtime friend of Mr. Sarkozy. "He will make Ms. Royal look ridiculous."

Jean-Pierre Chevènement, a former interior minister and an adviser to Ms. Royal said: "These are macho allegations. She has demonstrated that she can be hard-headed and sensitive, all qualities required for a head of state."
The sharpened knives are clearly out! While the betting now seems to favour Sarkozy, the front-runner and candidate of the right, the supporters of all the runoff candidates who've now dropped off will move elsewhere and as the WSJ article notes, there's an element of unpredictability with that. I caught an interview Charlie Rose did with Sarkozy a few months back and was distinctly underwhelmed. But hey, maybe that's just me. What I find truly of interest is the prospect that France could have a woman president for the first time in its history, in a few weeks time.