Tuesday, May 01, 2007

La France Présidente

The pun in her election campaign tag-line roughly translates into "France presiding" or "France on top" but with the added bonus that présidente is the word for a woman in that job. This doesn't really gel with how the media has been portraying Ségolène Royal in the last few weeks. I'm not totally sure, but I get the impression that France will be pretty crippled under all her generous reforms and I'm beginning to wonder where she's planning on getting all her funding for the projects she assures us she'll put in place.

On the other hand there is "Ensemble, tout devient possible" from Nicolas Sarkozy, which is really just as scary. Anything is possible, indeed. Where will he stop with his threats to clean out the rough suburbs with a power-jet washer? Economically he is the polar opposite to Ségolène Royal, choosing to emphasize the fact that France doesn't work enough.

I have to admit that there he may have a point. Today we are enjoying a very sunny 1st May public holiday, and there are more to come. Next week will be the same, Tuesday is a bank holiday, and like this week, Monday will be a pont (bridge - word used for a long weekend) so the week will only contain three real working days. There is another pont the week after that, on Thursday and Friday, and then a full week, then on the 28th a lot of companies still give Whitsuntide Monday off, although it's no longer a public holiday (since 2004).

It's hardly surprising then when we hear that the French resent their potential president telling them that they have to work more. Being used to 5 weeks holiday a year, plus all these public holidays, they consider them part of life, and a right.

Being English, I don't have a vote in the presidential election, and with the current selection of second-round candidates I have to say I'm almost glad. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to lie in the sunshine and do nothing.


osbornb said...

The polls aren't promising, but I hope it's Ségolène all the same. Often we hear in the US media that France is resistant to change. So I wonder why Sarkozy has been leading. There are many unknowns with him. Royal's message, as I have perceived it, is one of unity and compromise, which seems so much more reassuring.

riccardos said...

So now french people have choosen Sarko. But, as you have mentioned, we did not have the right to vote, and we will not have neither in the following election for the parlament. But we pay taxes, we leave here and we will take what we will decide for us (where us means for foreign people leaving in france). Really in europe there should be many people for which democracy is not really full. We should connect ourself to do something, at least for europe. A first attempt i am doing on http://votetrangers.blogspot.com.