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is actually his inheritance from Chirac : he hijacked the monolithic party apparatus, and used it for his slow, public assassination of his boss. This is the natural order of things on the (French) right : succession by murder of the previous Caesar by the chief of the Praetorian guard.

But the "monolithic Right" is an unnatural construct, and will inevitably degenerate into (at least) two mainstream right parties. My preference is for three, as in the good old days (Legitimists, Orleanists and Bonapartists).

But in the short term, the best we can hope for is that Dominique de Villepin will manage to get his party off the ground. He's struggling against a sort of soft-totalitarian blackout in the news media, combined with the shameless buying off/ threatening off of his parliamentary backers by Sarko's political machine. If he gets off the ground, he's going to be a formidable first-round rival for Sarko.

Meanwhile, the real danger of the second generation of the Le Pen dynasty is that she may be seen as the acceptable face of (post?) fascism. And as such, she may be able to mainstream the party, and take it into coalition. Historically, the main thing that has kept the FN out is not any great quantity of moral scruples from the "centre" right, but rather J-M Le Pen's habit of keeping himself beyond the pale, by making nasty anti-semitic "slips" when things started looking too cosy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 6th, 2010 at 12:10:59 PM EST
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I think Sarko considerably extended and reinforced the Chirac monolithic party: pulling in the centre (minus Bayrou) and above all attracting a sizeable proportion of Front National voters. It's totally "unnatural" and requires nonstop media management to keep alive. And Sarko lost the media plot sometime earlier this year. He's trying to get it back.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Sep 6th, 2010 at 02:42:40 PM EST
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