Tuesday, May 1, 2007

French election drawing to a close

DeTocque is back and in fine form after a lovely ten-day repose on the beaches of Central America.

But on to the French elections... We won't get into the nasty electoral politics at this juncture, as both Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royale have turned it into a vote into a nasty character referendum (surprised? when was the last time anyone heard of a civil election with so much at stake?), but DeTocque will make one rather not-so-bold prediction if Sarko wins: there'll be protests, and tons of them, and for weeks on end.

While everyone and their dog knows that France is a nation of protesters, the protesting-prone portion of the population is over-represented in those who would traditionally vote for Sego -- the unions, the lower middle class, the students. If they don't get what they want, it's second nature to take to the streets.

Two aspects about this are of significance:

1. If a Sarko victoire causes demonstrations en masse, this should pose profound questions to French philosophers about whether the French psyche is really accepting of representative democracy. (Since a) a Sarko vicotory and b) demonstrations have not happened yet, DeTocque will only expound on this point should a) and b) actually come to pass).

2. How would Sarko react? His authoritarian style would default to heavy police presence and strong-armed strike-breaking mentality, but DeTocque guesses the new president would want to win over his new subjects and let them paralyze the country for a week or two. Only if the pagaille drags on would the batons come out.

3 comments:

Kevin Walsh said...

Is there any history suggesting demonstrations after a close election, or is this guess just coming from your estimate on the nature of the French? Would the protests be of the same tone as Mexico's, where childish politician's rhetoric could actually threaten the health of the democracy, or would it just be people (unemployed) in the street angry that they didn't get their way?

DeTocqueville said...

There's no history to it, but the hard-core lefties are so anti-Sarko that they feel something should be done... And protesting is what they know best.

Also, if they occur, look for Sego to call off the dogs relatively soon -- assuming the election is free and fair (as everyone expects), she would very likely react as a graceful loser of a fair contest and call for reconciliation and progress within the system, not as the jilted lover a la Mexico.

kungpao said...

That is patently untrue. My dog has no idea that France is a nation of Protestrors.