Sarkozy courts ‘silent ma­jor­ity’ in French pres­i­den­tial race

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Hours af­ter Don­ald Trump’s US elec­tion vic­tory, a close po­lit­i­cal ally of French pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Ni­co­las Sarkozy hailed the mo­ment as “a beau­ti­ful day”.

While the re­sult aroused anx­i­ety among much of Europe’s po­lit­i­cal main­stream, French leg­is­la­tor Philippe Me­u­nier drew cheers as he warmed up a crowd of con­ser­va­tive faith­ful be­fore Sarkozy ar­rived for a rally near the city of Lyon. “I was wo­ken up this morn­ing to good news from the United States and salute the de­ter­mi­na­tion of Amer­i­cans who were faced with those who lec­ture us about what to think, and for whom to vote,” he said.

At the time, west­ern lead­ers were of­fer­ing to work with Trump but mak­ing clear their ap­pre­hen­sion over his cam­paign threats on is­sues rang­ing from NATO sol­i­dar­ity to the Iran nu­clear deal and cli­mate change. But with France hold­ing its own pres­i­den­tial elec­tion next spring, the Sarkozy camp ap­pears to have no such fears.

Sarkozy, who did not sup­port Trump’s cam­paign, said the US elec­tion re­sult was a re­jec­tion of “con­form­ist think­ing”. The con­ser­va­tive is pur­su­ing a search for votes that has taken him fish­ing in the wa­ters of the far­right Na­tional Front party.

Me­u­nier told Wed­nes­day’s rally that the US re­sult ex­posed a frus­tra­tion vot­ers felt to­ward an es­tab­lish­ment that was en­trenched across the West, in­clud­ing in France. He set the stage for Sarkozy, who railed against an elite in France that he said had turned a deaf ear to cit­i­zens un­der so­cial­ist Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande.

Sarkozy, who as pres­i­dent be­tween 20072012 was him­self part of that elite, said he was lis­ten­ing, less than two weeks be­fore a pri­mary con­test for the cen­tre-right pres­i­den­tial ticket. Against the back­drop of a wave of bloody Is­lamist mil­i­tant at­tacks in France and Europe’s im­mi­gra­tion cri­sis, the 61-year-old prom­ises to get tough on im­mi­gra­tion, de­fend France’s sec­u­lar val­ues and re­vive na­tional pride. “There is an anger among the peo­ple. They are liv­ing in a reality which is no longer recog­nised by many politi­cians,” Sarkozy said a day later in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view. — Reuters

BORDEAUX, FRANCE: For­mer French pres­i­dent and can­di­date for the right-wing Les Repub­li­cains (LR) party pri­maries ahead of the 2017 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Ni­co­las Sarkozy ges­tures as he speaks dur­ing a cam­paign rally. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.