Daily Archives: April 25, 2008

Gideon Rachman

You will be glad to know that the weather is beautiful in Paris. But the outlook is cloudy with showers for Nicolas Sarkozy.

I was here this time last year, on the eve of Sarko’s election. Almost a year later, all that hope and expectation has all but evaporated. A poll last week showed that 72 per cent of French people now have an unfavourable view of Sarkozy’s presidency. This is an astonishing achievement. It took Chirac more than a decade in office to achieve similar levels of unpopularity.

Sarkozy gave a long interview on television last night to try and repair some of the damage. He argued that reforming the French economy was always going to be difficult – and would inevitably piss off important interest groups. (A loose translation, obviously). This seems plausible enough to me. But I think that some of the problems of his presidency are more personal than that. The furore over his personal life has obviously hurt him – and he tried to draw a line under it last night. But in a broader sense, Sarko seems a bit unpresidential. While Chirac spoke slowly in a deep voice and sat very still, Sarko gets visibly agitated and seems fidgety and angry when put under pressure. Read more