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Sarkozy woos Socialist politicians for cabinet jobs | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
France's rightwing president-elect, Nicolas Sarkozy, has irked his opponents and surprised supporters by courting leftwing politicians for top positions in his cabinet.

Mr Sarkozy, who delivered rousing campaign speeches promising to "liquidate" the leftwing heritage of the student protests of May 1968, believes that bringing Socialist figures into his government would answer criticisms that he is divisive and enable him to push through his economic reforms.

As Mr Sarkozy planned his cabinet from a hunting lodge near the palace of Versailles, it emerged that he had approached senior Socialist figures to become foreign minister, including Bernard Kouchner, the former doctor who founded the relief agency Médecins Sans Frontières.

Article continues Mr Kouchner, 67, served as UN governor in Kosovo from 1999-2001 and styles himself as an outspoken champion of human rights. A former Socialist health minister, he was one of the rare French politicians who spoke out in favour of military intervention in Iraq in 2003, saying he was against war but also against Saddam Hussein's regime.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 12:28:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he was one of the rare French politicians who spoke out in favour of military intervention in Iraq in 2003, saying he was against war but also against Saddam Hussein's regime.

<speechless>...

Is this Sarko policy a death kiss for the Socialists? Splitting away the centrists from the party, and killing any campaign strategy they could have had (had they not engaged in infighting instead) for the assembly elections?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 03:19:09 AM EST
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I think Mr Sarkozi should invite the best French to the post of foreign affairs minister - Mr Andre Glucksman. He is much better than Mr Kuchner, mediocre apparatchik. I just read his interview in El Pais and remember he also supported toppling of Saddam regime. Impeccable views for new French foreign policy.  
by FarEasterner on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 04:08:00 AM EST
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Was that a snark?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 04:21:05 AM EST
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Kouchner has always been more interested by his personal prospects than by those of the left. He is genuinely popular from his earlier work with Médecins sans frontières, and his outspokenness on societal issues, but he is not a loyal lefty.

His call before the first round for an alliance between Bayrou and Royal as "the only chance" to defeat Sarkozy was widely seen as a torpedo against her to force the PS to "modernize" (i.e. move right).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 04:16:31 AM EST
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Olivier Roy in the New York Times: Friend or Faux?

Dreux, France -- NICOLAS SARKOZY, who will take over the presidency from Jacques Chirac tomorrow, has often been dubbed by the left in France as "Sarkozy the American." His victory has also been greeted in American conservative circles as an unprecedented break with the "French disease" (welfare state, 35-hour workweek, national arrogance, anti-Americanism, etc.).

Certainly, Mr. Sarkozy is pro-American and anti-bureaucracy and has no problem with hobnobbing with the rich, as shown by his luxury (and very short) vacation on a billionaire's yacht in Malta after his election. He also repeatedly claims that he will make a clear break with Mr. Chirac's policies.

But feelings and gestures don't make a policy. And there is no neoconservative or Thatcherist revolution in sight for France.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 04:11:25 AM EST
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The amusing thing is that so far the pattern looks quite clear.

In order to balance any popularity issues that may occur with his economic change agenda, Sarkozy plans to placate the populace by striking popular poses on matters such as immigrants and foreign policy.

This of course will disappoint some in "American conservative circles" as bashing Bush is likely one of the popular poses Sarkozy will need to adopt to undertake this strategy.

That this strategy is itself the strategy of "American conservative circles" (foreign policy as a distraction from domestic giving to the rich) seems to pass unnoticed.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 04:44:00 AM EST
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