Saturday, November 18, 2006

News From Europe

Time (as always) being a factor in my choice of post topics, I have to pick and choose. And with the election still on many American's minds this week, I haven't had time to look at much from the European theater, until now. So here are a couple of stories being watched closely here at PYY:

French Presidential Campaign Picking Up Steam: Socialists Nominate Woman Candidate

Her name is Segolene Royal, but many just call her Sego. She has been selected by the French Socialist Party to represent them in next year's election and was chosen by a rather large margin (over 60% of the vote) over two male rivals.

Socialists are not new to the Presidential Palace,
Francois Mitterand was elected to the post in 1981. But never has a woman held the office and never has a woman had such a realistic chance to attain such a feat.

Her likely closest rival will be
Nicolas Sarkozy, a very pro-American politician that will probably represent the largest challenge. (The French have an affinity for shortening names and refer to him as Sarko.) Right now polls are showing a dead heat, between the two.

Now as you may guess, the world media is already intrigued by her candidacy:

CNN International is using her name and the name of John F. Kennedy in the same breath.

Echoing a famous speech of John F. Kennedy, Segolene Royal urged voters to embrace change on Friday after a sweeping victory in a Socialist primary bolstered her quest to become France's first woman president.

Royal told French voters she had a vision of a united nation that faced the future boldly without reneging on its values.

"Today I call on all French people, the men and women of our country, to unite, to mobilize, to ask yourselves what you can do for our country," she said in a speech in the western Poitou-Charentes region she runs.

Deutsche-Welle implies that her candidacy is comparable to a new French revolution.

Europe's center-left parties and the media on Friday hailed as a "revolution" the choice by French socialists of Segolene Royal as their party's candidate for the April 2007 presidential election.

The LA Times calls her a populist with style.

The victory of Segolene Royal in France's Socialist Party presidential primary was a case of personality outweighing policy, analysts said Friday.

Her positions throughout the campaign were vague and sometimes even naive. But with a soaring smile, well-coiffed hair and a willingness to mix traditional Socialist views with popular rhetoric, she overcame her more pedantic party foes.

Besides the universal agreement that she is one good-looking lady that emanates charm and charisma, almost all of the op-ed and article writers are in agreement in their assessments of her candidacy. And while they all feel she is long on visual aesthetics, they also feel she is short on specifics on the issues that France is facing and will be facing, in the future.

Dutch Government Proposing To Ban Burkas

In a move that would most definitely come under much scrutiny here in the U.S., the Dutch government is proposing a ban on burkas due to security issues.

NIJMEGEN, The Netherlands: Five days before a national election here, the center-right government announced Friday that it planned to introduce legislation to ban burkas and similar garments in public places, saying the full- body garb worn by a small number of Muslim women in the Netherlands posed a grave security threat, both to the country's security forces and to its citizens.

The Netherlands has been considering such a move for months, in reaction to the burka and other clothing that hides the wearer's face and eyes. To some degree the government worries that a terrorist might put one on to get beyond security checks and carry out an attack.

Can you imagine the outcry from the progressives and outfits like the ACLU and CAIR, if Congress were to do something like this?

I do not disagree with this in principle, but am somewhat ambivalent due to my desire for all religions to be free to practice their religion, no matter how outlandish I may view their dogmas. It's a slippery slope that may come back to bite us all, someday. But yet, on the other hand, the state does have the duty to protect their citizens. With a rise in female suicide bombers, it makes good sense from a security standpoint.

It's a tough call, PYY will be watching this one closely.


All_I_Can_Stands said...

I am surprised that a pro-American can even be in the running. Perhaps his chances improved as many in Europe will view the US as coming to its senses by voting in Democrats.

LA, thanks for providing your portal into the French. I admit I don't know much about them and find your commentary very interesting.

A.C. McCloud said...

I think Burqas should be illegal everywhere. Forcing women to completely cover themselves head to toe? C'mon. Life is too short..

Mustang said...

As was recently pointed out by BBC News, "The UK had Margaret Thatcher, Germany has Angela Merkel as chancellor, and both Chile and Finland have elected female presidents in the last 12 months. So, could 2007 be the year that France votes in its first Madame la Presidente?"

Good question, but more to the point vis-a-vis the United States, could Hillary Clinton be added to the this femine mosiac in 2008? I think there is a good possibility. Personally, I have no problem with electing a woman as president. All I want is for our president (male or female) to place the interests of the United States and the American people ahead of his or her own personal agenda. In any case, socialism is not in our best interests -- and the reason why I could not vote for any "progressive."

Semper Fi

LASunsett said...


//LA, thanks for providing your portal into the French. I admit I don't know much about them and find your commentary very interesting.//

You're most welcome. I have dealt with the French many years ago, when I was stationed in Germany. It was a different era back then. I have learned much about today's France over at Super Frenchie's blog. If you want to get a feel for how the French feel about a certain topic, just read one of his threads. Here's one on Sego.

Also, an ex-pat American/French citizen's view is well-represented at l'Amerloque's place.

LASunsett said...


//C'mon. Life is too short..//

Especially for female suicide bombers that may hide their explosives under the burkas. :(

LASunsett said...


//Personally, I have no problem with electing a woman as president. All I want is for our president (male or female) to place the interests of the United States and the American people ahead of his or her own personal agenda.//

I agree. If Hillary came out and outlined a clear-cut plan to protect this nation much better than the GOP nominee, I'd sacrifice Hillary care for more security anyday. I might not like it completely, but I'd trade for it gladly to keep Americans as safe as possible. But from what I have sen so far, that's not likely. (But you never know)

Terror-Free said...

Islamonazi CAIR Intimidates Yet Another American Business In Dhimmitude - MSNBC video

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croquette said...

Thank you LA, for your concern about some European politics.
Too bad for Mr Dominique Strauss-Kahn, he was my favorite. A very competent candidate. DSK, as we call him, is a social-democrat and very good about economy. Is Ségo a populist ? I don't think so. Sarkozy is a right winger . To comment a comment here I would say that i'm a pro american, after all we all are Americans. But to write he won't be elected because he is proamerican has no meanning. To write ( like BBC) that he won't be elected because he's jew is stupid too ! A good point for Sarkozy, he s the son of an Hungarian immigrant, and France is a country made of immigrants. It s all I can do with my English ( sorry). With my best regards to all.

LASunsett said...

Hi Croquette,

You do more with your limited English, than some people that have spoken the language since their birth. Thank you for adding your comment.

superfrenchie said...

LA, thanks for the plug. :)

I think Sego's attractiveness is that she is sort of new to the political scene. There is a yearning for a renewal of our political class. It seems underway.

One thing I like about Sego is her (apparent) lack of ideological thinking. She's a pragmatic. If there are good ideas to be taken to the right of her party, she seems to be willing to go there and take them. In fact, I was impressed that even during the primaries she did not verse into ideology, even though this was the time for her to cater to the party's hardcore voters.

Today is J-153. We'll see what happens!

To mustang: it's difficult to compare French socialism and the "progressives" here. The quality of lif is high in France. No matter how much you may think one system or the other is superior, it would be very hard for the French to give up an average of 40 vacation days a year (+ 13 holidays), 35-hour workweeks, retirement no later than 60-year old (and 55 for many), and what many experts view as the best medical system in the world. I doubt you would vote against it if you were entitled to it. That's why both the French right and the French left would be to the left of your "progressives" here.