Quand Nicolas Sarkozy fait le tour de la Toile
LEMONDE.FR | 25.02.08
LEMONDE.FR | 25.02.08
Click the link above to watch a series of Sarkozy outbursts and insults since he came to power last May.
In another embarrassing setback for the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy's anger management issues have been caught on camera once again.
Nothing seems to be going right for Sarkozy. Angry Sarko's opinion ratings have been on a sharp decline since he came to office less than a year ago in last May. The French public elected Sarkozy with the fond belief that this was to be the man that would have strong enough characteristics to change the old French methodologies and renew France in the 21st century.
Well it's not the strong character that's lacking in Sarkozy, that's for sure.
I was in France during last year's election, and the French were well aware of his bad temper. His anger issues scared over 40% of the population from voting for him, and have remained in the back of the minds of the voters who opted to give him a chance at the top job.
Sarkozy, too, was conscious of his damaging rage. Throughout the campaign, the UMP leader made a concerted effort to tone down his feisty and controversial nature to win over skeptics. It worked, he made it into office, and since then has struggled to contain his rage. In the meantime, the fear that Sarkozy is too "fou" to lead a nuclear power has swelled among the French populous.
The French President's popularity is down to 38% in the most recent opinion poll, which was taken before the latest scandal. No doubt, pollsters are predicting a lower figure at the next turn of opinion polls following this week's angry outburst. Le Parisien reveals that over 3 million people have viewed online Sarkozy's vulgar tirade.
His woes don't stop with internal and personal issues.
Berlin disapproves of Sarkozy
Le Monde yesterday had an interesting article on the deterioration of Franco-German relations since Sarkozy came to power. Indeed, where former French presidents concentrated on maintaining a solid partnership with Germany, Sarkozy has ditched Berlin and steered the ship towards Washington. Berlin isn't impressed.
Sarkozy's aggressive attitude towards his people is mirrored by his attempt to push through his policies in Europe, even at the cost of special relationships. Angry Sarko is insistent on his Mediterranean Union, a project of growing annoyance to Germany. Berlin fears a Mediterranean Union will break up the European Union, and have follow-on effects for other regions on the continent.
Germany is equally angry that Sarkozy is persisting with plans without at least consulting Berlin. Le Monde refers to divergent African policies, and in particular the refusal of Germany to commit troops to an EU force in Chad, as an example. Chad wouldn't be the first time Germany and Sarkozy have clashed on Africa. The French President riled the Germans when he signed with Libya's Qaddafi a contract to build nuclear reactors (on the same lines of Russia's contract to build nuclear reactors in Iran). Germany vehemently opposed the move as unnecessary proliferation of dangerous materials, pointing to the fact that Berlin was working on providing Libya with alternative energy means. Sarkozy undermined a German-Libyan deal in the pipeline, and essentially stole a contract that included nuclear proliferation.
Examples of divergence and frustration are plentiful between Paris and Berlin since Sarkozy's ascension to power, many of which are highlighted in the Le Monde editorial. Sarkozy is becoming increasingly unilateral and belligerent in his policies at home and within the European Union. His ratings among his European counterparts and his French populous are sliding. The Europeans aren't fond of aggressive men who dictate their policies, and the polls reflect that.
Le Monde asks at the end, "how long will it take for Sarkozy to understand the necessity [of good Franco-German relations]?"
It is a valid question to ask given this week's dilemma.
Is Sarkozy able to lead such a nation of prominence?