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John Lichfield: Europe gets its first taste of 'Tsarkozy' - Independent Online Edition > Commentators

n less than 60 days in office, President Nicolas Sarkozy has (according to President Sarkozy) "saved" Europe from drift and disarray. He has (according to President Sarkozy) re-captured the ideological agenda in Brussels from the free-market dogma of the "Anglo-Saxons". Domestically, "Sarkonomics" is taking shape as an unusual mixture of interfering economic policy and tax cuts for the wealthy: de Gaulle's nose and Margaret Thatcher's handbag.

M Sarkozy has, along the way, created turmoil in the main French opposition party and mayhem in the French media (which fears a "Berlusconisation" of news). All the levers of French government are in his hands, even those usually held by the Prime Minister. He even seems, in his spare time, to want to run the opposition. Hence the nick-name "Tsarkozy", coined by the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé.

More than two thirds of French people say the new President is doing a good job. Is he? Has President Sarkozy done much more than kick up a lot of dust and generate a great deal of smoke?

It is clear that a new era, at least a new style, in French politics has dawned. The President is no longer an avuncular old bloke in the back of a limousine. He is a man who jogs daily in the Bois de Boulogne. He is a man who invites visiting statesmen, and student leaders, to walk down the street to lunch in a trendy restaurant. Hooray for that. Hooray, too, to some parts of the Sarkozy programme of equality and "openness".

by Fran on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:17:00 AM EST
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