Skip to comments.Chirac's Influence Sinks To New Low
Posted on 11/27/2005 5:02:48 PM PST by blam
Chirac's influence sinks to new low
By Henry Samuel in Paris
Jacques Chirac's presidency hit a new low yesterday when a poll revealed that most voters think he now has little or no influence over events at home or abroad.
Of those polled, 72 per cent regarded the influence of their president - who turns 73 tomorrow - over what happens in France as "weak".
Jacques Chirac: perceived as a lame duck
Two thirds said his clout on the world stage was feeble, while only 36 per cent thought he held any significant sway over European politics.
Condemnation came from all age groups and corners of France. Women were slightly less critical.
The poll, conducted for Le Parisien newspaper by the CSA institute, was all the more humiliating in that the opinion of supporters of Mr Chirac's conservative ruling UMP party was scarcely more favourable than those of voters on the Left. Only 43 per cent of UMP voters thought he still had a leading role to play in France.
With presidential elections not due until 2007, the poll raises serious questions about Mr Chirac's perceived lame-duck status and his ability to maintain his authority.
"Unless some spectacular event occurs, the 17 remaining months of his mandate are likely to be very tricky," said Roland Cayrol, director of the CSA institute.
Mr Chirac's 10th year in power has been a bad one. He has a notched up an unenviable string of defeats - not least over the referendum on the European constitution.
The poll is also an indictment of his handling of the wave of rioting in the poor suburbs this autumn.
Although Chirac loyalists say he was very much in control behind the scenes, he was criticised for not addressing the public sooner - allowing his prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, and interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, to handle the crisis instead.
The pair appear to have gained political credit from the riots - Mr Sarkozy for his tough stance, and Mr de Villepin for his statesmanship.
"In fact, Chirac was the one at the master controls, and it was he who gave the green light to impose a state of emergency and curfews. But the fact that he took three weeks to solemnly address the French [after the rioting began] was manifestly a mistake," said Mr Cayrol.
The president has also had to contend with ill-health. In September, he suffered what is thought to have been a minor stroke, with doctors advising him to rest and to avoid air travel for a month.
Since then, he has appeared more withdrawn. "The Elysée [presidential palace] has become a bunker which is impossible to approach, and this is even truer since the president's health worries," a former Chirac ally told Le Parisien.
Some analysts say his absence from the political stage has been carefully orchestrated to allow his protégé, Mr de Villepin, to appear as the nation's de facto leader, and a credible presidential alternative to his rival, Mr Sarkozy, who leads the UMP.
Mr de Villepin recently stood in for Mr Chirac at a United Nations summit and his fight to cut unemployment has boosted his popularity.
The prevailing view is that the president will stop at nothing to block Mr Sarkozy's rise to power - even if it means backing a socialist candidate.
He is weakened but, as one UMP deputy put it: "Everyone fears the last roar of the old lion."
Jacques Chirac: perceived as a lame
There, it's fixed in the spirit of Truth in Advertising.
"Wee Wee", said Jacques!!
Well, its easy to take a tough stance when you're powerless, and apparently "statesmanship" is the new Frnch word for the eloquent and inept
In point of fact, there don't seem to be any good choices on offer in France. Chirac is a Conservative. de Villepin appears to be even further to the left and more corrupt than he is. Sarkozy is not the strong leader he has been mistaken for. When he said that the rioters were "racaille," what he was trying to say was that it was not a Muslim uprising, as some people might think, but only a bunch of juvenile thugs and scum. Apparently he has a record of doling out welfare goodies to these people and that would be his solution to the problem.
The only alternatives appear to be genuine nut cases on the extreme right--who, moreover, are also America-haters.
The prospects don't look good.
Gee...that's too bad.
They are blaming it on "bad health."
Bad health.... Maybe he caught HIV from Arafat.
I confess I never heard of him. Which, given the state of our press, means nothing, of course.
I did a Google search, and every article cited on the first two pages was in French, except this one, from Answers.com:
Alain Madelin (born March 26, 1946) is a French politician and a former minister of that country.
Madelin, a strong supporter of laissez-faire economics, was a candidate in the 2002 French presidential election as the leader of the Démocratie Libérale party, where he scored a meager 3.91% on the first round. He is now a member of the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire party and a deputy in the French National Assembly.
He was minister of Industry in Prime Minister Jacques Chirac's cabinet from 1986 to 1988, a minister of Business in Prime Minister Édouard Balladur's cabinet from 1993 to 1995, and a minister of Economy and Finances in Prime Minister Alain Juppé's cabinet.
He has been continuously re-elected as Ille-et-Vilaine's representative at the National Assembly since 1978.
Madelin is the French major politician the most in favor of the international policies of the United States, and supported the United States-led 2003 invasion of Iraq. Because of this, he has, in the past, generally been considered with favor by the US press.
In the late 1960s, he was a member of the Occident far-right group before joining the UDF center-right party. Occident had fascist leanings, engaged in violent assaults on political opponents, especially Communists, and sought to overthrow the democratic government of Charles de Gaulle.
So a naive person might think. But actually the opposite seems to be true. See my comment above on the google search. Any French politician who favors America and the Iraq war is bound to be deplored and ignored by the American press.
How can the people of france not see or understand how they are turining their backs on one of their great leaders of the century?
Should give an indication of just how bad the others were.
France and the french, just so irrevelant and that's what drives them bannanas.
I predict a catastrophic terror event on French soil.
The jihad is BEING DEFEATED in Iraq. France is thus no longer needed by the jihad, and their unwillingness to stand and shed blood in Iraq makes them the softest of targets.
The jihadis' warped thinking will in the end need someone to blame for their defeat, and they will lash out, I wouldn't plan any trips to Paris......
Dozens of nuclear power plants. A government that seeks to appease terrorists. A significant fraction of youths are unassimilated Muslims. An incompetent military.
It really is a recipe for disaster.