Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sarko effectively sinking the PS?

Sarkozy's appointment of Bernard Koucher is striking for many reasons.

For one, it means Sarko may actually be seeking to forward traditionally FRENCH (not Gaullist) issues in foreign affairs: Koucher seems reasonably tolerant of the US, is actively involved in humanitarian prospects, and shares many of his boss's pro-EU opinions. This likely signals that Sarko is dead serious about rising above the partisan fray. Interesting. Sarko even went as far as to include seven women in the cabinet... Well done indeed.

As a subset of Koucher's appointment as FM, it's notable that Sarko would give that post to a member of the opposition -- foreign relations are traditionally the role of the President, while the PM controls more of the domestic agenda. In effect, Koucher position, by design, is kept on a short lease to the Elysee and therefore Sarko effectively retains a direct veto over anything Koucher might do that wouldn't be 100% kosher with the big boss.

Two, look what it's doing to the Socialists -- they've since ousted Koucher, and are practically conceding any hope of a majority in next month's elections to the Assemble Nationale. Ladies and gents, start your engines, because we may be in for an entertaining power struggle when the dust settles. The PS has one very important question it must answer: does it truly embrace the market economy? Where is its Tony Blair, great capitalist modernizer of Labour? Blair made Labour electable, and the PS is clearly not. It might not be too far of a stretch to see the PS fracture into a "Social Democratic" party and some harder lefties...

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