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AP Explains Away Sarkozy’s Historic Mandate

From those lovers of representative government at the Associated Press:

Rivals Warn Sarkozy Could Face Dissent

Monday, June 11, 2007

PARIS — President Nicolas Sarkozy appears to have won a mandate for change after his party swept first-round parliamentary elections, and he is picking up speed in his plans to overhaul France’s welfare state. But rivals say he should watch out.

Sarkozy’s expected parliamentary majority is inflated by French election rules and because many opponents threw up their hands and did not vote in Sunday’s first round. Immigrant-heavy suburbs are still seething after 2005 riots, and students are dead-set against some of Sarkozy’s reforms.

A major misstep, critics warn, and the streets again could explode in anger

Sarkozy, well aware of the risk of resistance to his plans, has reached out to the people most threatened by them: negotiating with unions, bringing a leading Socialist into his government and naming a woman of North African descent as justice minister. On Monday, he bowed to labor union demands and scrapped longer hours for teachers.

So far, the strategy appears to be working. Anti-Sarkozy protests after last month’s elections left hundreds of cars burned nationwide but quickly fizzled, and no other major resistance has been mounted…

Others warn of a creeping authoritarianism if Sarkozy — who already enjoys more power than most European leaders because of France’s constitution — gains a heavily lopsided majority in parliament.

“There is Sarkozy’s France, and the France of poor neighborhoods. I’m afraid the divorce is getting deeper,” said Brahim Abbou, who organizes get-out-the-vote campaigns in poor districts around Paris.

He warned of possible violence by youths who hate Sarkozy and feel their voices have not been heard.

“They made an effort for the presidential elections,” when young people and the housing project residents turned out in large numbers. “But they have the impression that their vote didn’t count.” …

“For us, Sarkozy’s reforms will not be defeated through the ballot boxes, but by organizing the students in force,” student organizer Celine Coat said.

She said student groups were organizing a forum for July to get things ready for protests when the new school year opens. They are hoping to repeat the success of nationwide protests and strikes last year, which forced then-President Jacques Chirac’s government to back off a labor reform that would have made it easier to hire and fire young people.

The far-left Workers’ Struggle party predicted a “yes-man” parliament, and said it was up to the working classes to “put sticks in (Sarkozy’s) wheels” through strikes and other protests.

“The working world is unpredictable because it can be subject to sudden bouts of anger,” the party said in a statement

What would we do without the Solons in our watchdog media to explain events to us:

Sarkozy’s expected parliamentary majority is inflated by French election rules…

One might have thought that Sarkozy winning a landslide in today’s parliamentary elections was some kind of mandate for his policies.

But according to the mavens at the AP, it was just the opposite. Indeed, it was a warning for him to not go too far.

(Only socialists like Bill Clinton, who never got more than 49.2% of the vote, get mandates. For everyone else it is a glitch in the system.)

It is surely far better for France to be ruled by the mobs of “youths” in the street.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, June 11th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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