Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
That's a whole lot of extremely speculative questions. You'd be a good one for buying into Bayrou's dream.

There doesn't seem to be (imo) an exact centre point of French politics. Why should there be? In saying the UDF (or the group that preceded it) was not that point, (supposing it existed), I wasn't referring to its current size but its clear, 5th-Republic-long positioning on the right as team-mate/rival of the successive Gaullist parties. You don't change that with a few energetic speeches.

The rest of your questions illustrate the kind of difficulty Bayrou would have as president...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 05:12:58 AM EST
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What "dream"? This subthread started because of a poll that says Bayrou would win if he made it to the 2nd round. The questions I ask may have speculative answers, but as questions they follow naturally from the poll results we're discussing.

About centre points - let me get quantitative for a minute. Identify the main issues (axes) of the political spectrum. Assume that positions can be approximately ranked linearly on each issue, and find the median voter position for each. That's the political centre. Theis may not be very meaningful if you need a lot of different, very narrow issues in order to have linear axes.

So, in the 2007 French Presidential campaign, what seem to be the two or three key issues (and this could be something like 'can we have a woman president' rather than, say economic left/right, if that's the turn the campaign takes in the voters' view), and where's the centre?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 06:06:29 AM EST
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Bayrou's dream is that the electorate will accept his pretended "non-aligned" posture and allow him to wipe the slate clean. That they may accept some form of the quantitative thinking you lay out, and accord him a position smack dab in the middle. And that this will be sufficient for him to get into Round Two, in which case he is in a strong winning position as the "lesser evil" of the two.

My point is not to deny Sarko is further right than Bayrou, or Royal further left. It is to say Bayrou is right-ist in his leanings, and historically on the right in terms of his personal tradition and political career - including the symbiosis with the Gaullistes in which he and his movement have always lived (until his decision to break off to make this run). That was the meaning of the journalist's question about the centre - are you really trying to tell us you're the centre, and not the right?

Now, the electorate may be sufficiently fooled by his posture to put him in Round Two. But political parties and personnel do not have short memories like the TV-gazing masses. They won't give him a free ride.

The truth, imo? Bayrou at the Elysée would mean he had created a new balance on the right. He would ally with the UMP again, but this time on new terms, with him as boss. I'd rather see him than Sarko in that position, but then again I'd rather see neither.

(Otherwise, I know you can produce a graphic representation of political views and thus define a "centre". I think it may be useful in a time series, to compare changes and trends. Not as anything other than an oversimplification, though, if it is meant as a description of the extremely complex dynamic system we might call history.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 09:42:10 AM EST
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Fair enough, but let me be more explicit. What are the two or three issues that seem to dominate the campaign, and where do the candidates stand on these issues relative to each other in voter perception?

You seem to be implying that there is no centre, and if there is, it's not Bayrou.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 09:53:57 AM EST
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If there's a centre, it's an angel on a pinhead, and that's hardly Bayrou ;)

I think your question is really for another diary, and later on, when major issues do in fact become clearer and more clearly discussed. For the moment, it's more a war of position. There are something like sixty days to go...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 02:19:27 PM EST
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