Supermodel-turned-French-first-lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy tried to put the brakes on her husband's dramatic slide in the opinion polls this week by, perhaps a little sarcastically, apologizing for their happiness. Since he went public with their relationship in December, two months after divorcing his second wife, President Sarkozy's popularity rating has plummeted. Two weeks ago President Sarkozy filed a criminal complaint against the weekly Nouvel Observateur for publishing a text message. The paper claimed he sent the message to his ex-wife a week before his wedding to Carla Bruni offering to call it off if she came back to him! Whatever actually happened it seems that the rather cosey relationship between the government and the French media is being challenged.
Do today’s bleak statistics on marriage mean the conventional approach to love, relationships, and wedlock are out-dated? Not if you’re the president of France! You’d be hard-pressed not to have heard that French President Nicolas Sarkozy married celebrity Carla Bruni last weekend in a small civil ceremony at the Elysee palace. The two met three months ago, and their whirlwind romance has captured attention right around the world. Ms Bruni was one of the highest paid fashion models in the 1990s. She then turned to pop music and released her debut album in 2002. She’s also the heiress to the fortune of an Italian tire company. And she’s famously made a habit of bedding the famous. But is coverage of the event was reaching saturation point?
After becoming the first French president to divorce during his time in office, Nicholas Sarkozy looks set to become the first to marry as well. He certainly is keen to keep himself busy. This week he described his relationship with Carla Bruni as ”serious” and hinted that a wedding, perhaps in secret, could be expected soon. Our Paris correspondent John Laurenson says if Carla Bruni becomes Carla Sarkozy it would revolutionise the role of France’s first lady and mark a victory for a certain sort of women’s lib’.
Nicolas Sarkozy promised to give France a good shake - but was Europe shaken by the result of the French elections? Listen to this - had Germans, Italians, Spaniards and Britons had their way - France would now have its first female president. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux sounded out the opinions of European commentators and correspondents in pre-election Paris
The sporting pretensions of the new president have been drawing criticis, even from among Nicholas Sarkozy’s political friends. Because Monsieur Sarkozy likes to do what no other French president has done before him - he likes to go for a jog. Every morning. Whether he’s at the Elysee Palace or at various summit meetings around Europe.
Behind the scenes in Brussels questions are being asked about French coercion and threats to switch off Libya’s anti-missile shield. And there’s been fevered speculation as to exactly how the deal to free the Bulgarian medics was made, and who knew about it. Before the champagne corks in Sofia had even started popping difficult questions were being asked about the contents of the deal with Colonel Gaddaffi’s government.
Nicolas Sarkozy has set himself a hard task for the coming week. The hyper-active new French president has busied himself reforming French life. He seems hell-bent on inspiring the anti-Sarko banner-wavers to come out and defy him. First he took on university reform, then law and order and the scourge of repeat-offenders. This week it's the turn of union power and the right to strike. Mr Sarkozy wants to make sure that any public transport strikes in future do not bring the country’s cities to a standstill, as they often have in the past. He wants to make sure there’ll always be a bus or a train, eventually.
French electors are going to the polls for the third time in less than two months to vote. The first round of the parliamentary elections is on Sunday. France’s new President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is hoping that his right wing UMP camp will win a majority, or else he will have to appoint a leftwing Prime Minister, who will then form a leftwing government. But opinion Polls indicate that’s very unlikely. Why?
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's ties to business and media came under fresh attack this week, after his former deputy campaign director took on a top post, at the country's most popular television station, TF1. The Owner of the channel, billionaire Martin Bouygues, is a close friend of Sarkozy. Earlier on, critics in France were concerned by the decision made by the Journal du Dimanche newspaper not to publish an article revealing that Sarkozy's wife Cecilia did not vote in the second round presidential poll.
The new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, campaigned with proposals based on faulty economic analyses- this according to an article posted on the website of a leading American newspaper The Washington Post. France’s new president who was sworn in this week, said he would boost France’s economy through tax cuts and pushing back the 35 hour work week. But the article, written by Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says that there is little evidence that Sarkozy’s proposals will actually increase employment or economic growth. Radio France International’s Jan van der Made went to find out if economists in France agree.
Nicolas Sarkozy will take office next week, on the 16th of May. He returned just in time from his expensive two day retreat to attend the Paris commemoration of France’s abolition of slavery. Last year President Jacques Chirac chose May the tenth as remembrance day for the victims of slavery. This was hailed by friends and foes alike, as a breakthrough in France’s efforts to come to terms with its colonial past. Interestingly last year Nicolas Sarkozy supported a controversial law which acknowledged the “positive role of colonialism”, and he said on numerous occasions during his campaign that he hated remorse. More on the issue with Radio France International’s Yan van der Made.
In France, the presidential race is still open, and no matter who wins the 6th of May showdown, the 2007 election is likely to change the face of French politics for decades. François Bayrou, the man who came third in the first round last sunday, announced at a press conference this week that he wouldn't tell his seven million supporters how to cast their ballots. The final round pitches conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist candidate Segolene Royal. Fifty five year old Bayrou hinted he finds Royal less distateful than Sarkozy. This matters, because Bayrou's voters will be the king makers of the election. The centrist politician also announced he was creating a new party. Radio France International's Sarah Elzas went o Bayrou's press conference in Paris, and she filed this report.
In France voters will hit the polls this Sunday and the large majority of the electorate is still undecided on who to support. However France's neighbours have been closely following the French election campaign and it seems that Ségolène Royal is their preferred president. Twice as many would prefer the French socialist presidential candidate, compared to her conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy. That’s the results of a Harris Interactive survey for the Financial Times newspaper canvasing opinions in Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain. Admittedly that’s only four out of twenty seven European member states, and it’s just an opinion poll. Radio France Internationale's Nick Champeaux sounded out the opinions of European correspondents in the French capital.
And we should soon know the outcome of that campaign for the presidential election. The first round of voting is on April the 22d. Opinion polls, for what they're worth, put the right wing candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the lead, followed by socialist Ségolène Royal, centre right François Bayrou, and number four is the far right contender Jean Marie Le Pen. Surveys show that forty per cent of the electorate, 18 million voters, are still undecided. Working class voters often leave it to the last days of the campaign to make up their mind. Blue collar workers account for a quarter of the electorate, so they will be the king-makers so to speak. That's why all the candidates are going out of their way to seduce them. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux reports from Charleville -Mézière, in the Champagne Ardennes region, in the north-east of France.
The French presidential elections are two months away, but newspapers and magazines are already trying to say who will win…. Opinion polls abound- almost one a day, pitting the front runners, Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royale against others who are not even on the ballot yet. The official list of candidates won't be firmed up until the end of March. Sarah Elzas looks at the phenomenon of opinion polls that appear constantly on the front pages of French newspapers and magazines.
In France - Money is taboo. In recent weeks, French politicians have lifted the lid on their assets- and in the process, they’ve revealed a bit about French attitudes about wealth. The socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royale forcibly denied being rich as if it were a swear-word. Instead, she said she was just well off. On the right, presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has called an end to France’s traditional “down with the rich” culture. Radio France International’s Henry Samuel explored the touchy subject with Janine Mossuz-Lavau, a political scientist who has written a book called “L’argent et nous”, money and us. She says money remains one of the most sensitive subjects in France- even more so than sex- something she’s also researched.
There are increasing signals that France is gearing-up for an American style Presidential election campaign. The campaign for next spring's poll is not officially under way, but in fact it started months ago, and that alone, is American. Last week Ségolène Royal was elected candidate for the socialist party after an American style primary campaign, which included three televised debates with her two party opponents. Card members of the ruling centre right UMP party will choose their candidate on the 14th of January. Radio France International's Nick Champeaux zooms in on the two main political figures in France, Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy, and attempts to find out who is the most American.
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