The next president of the French Fifth Republic will be conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.
From an outsider’s perspective, I can see that there are aspects of French government that need to change, and Sarkozy is the better candidate to make those changes. Unemployment, especially among youth and immigrants, needs to be addressed.
But I can say with confidence that if I were a French citizen I would have voted for the socialist candidate, Royal. I would be worried that Sarkozy would take the reforms too far – taking the “French” out of France. The country has a good thing going for the many people who can take advantage of what the welfare state has to offer.
Two less-than-desirable options. Two choices fraught with doubt. Too much change or too much of the same. The devil we know or the devil we don’t. It’s too bad the centrist candidate didn’t make it onto the second ballot.
There’s no question France is in for a well-needed tune-up. Is it going to involve merely inflating the tires or replacing the whole engine?
[photo credit | protesters in Paris]