French Presidential Election Sees Right Victorious

May 07, 2007 03:29 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy beat his socialist opponent, Segolénè Royal, to win the French presidency––the new incumbent promises market reforms.

30 Second Summary

May 6––Sarkozy confirmed the expectations of political pollsters, securing 53.3% of the vote in the two-candidate presidential run-off.

Sarkozy campaigned on radical economic change, promising to revitalize a languishing economy by rolling back the state and curtailing the unions.

Royal, who elected would have been France’s first woman president, won 46.7% of the vote. In total, 85% of the electorate took part. Many commentators judged the result to be a crushing defeat for French socialism.

Sarkozy achieved international notoriety during the riots that spread through the immigrant suburbs of France in 2005. As the interior minister in Jacques Chirac’s government, Sarkozy described the rioters as “scum.”

That uncompromising, some say insensitive, attitude seems to have served him well in an election in which immigration was central. His hard-line image allowed him to steal supporters from far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen.

In the 2002 election, Le Pen was the surprise candidate in the presidential run-off against Chirac.



Election Issues

Key Players

Nicolas Sarkozy
Segolénè Royal
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jacques Chirac

French Riots, 2005


History of Franco-American Relations

The French and Indian War began in 1754 as a conflict between France and Great Britain over the area surrounding what is now Pittsburgh. The conflict soon escalated into a war over America that saw the French ally with Native American tribes against Great Britain and the colonists. The conclusion of the war set the stage for the American Revolution, and an alliance between the colonists of the burgeoning nation and their former enemy France.
After the French and Indian War ended in 1763, and most of France’s land holdings in America were divided among Great Britain and Spain, a series of British taxes on the colonies inspired the widespread resentment that lead to 1776’s Declaration of Independence. The French became an important ally of the colonies, providing money, arms, and military support. In the 1778 Treaty of Alliance with France, the United States and France agreed not to make peace with Great Britain until the U.S. was recognized as a sovereign nation.
From the 1880s until the end of World War II, Vietnam was under French colonial rule. When Japan invaded Vietnam in 1940, the United States formed a tentative alliance with the Communist Viet Minh to oust the Japanese. When the Japanese surrendered in 1945, the Viet Minh declared independence for Vietnam. The United States, fearing the spread of communism in Asia, entered into armed conflict with the Viet Minh. In 1964, French President de Gaulle denounced the American war in Vietnam, saying the region should be left to rule itself.



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