Thursday, May 17, 2007

My on-line interview about the French election (Knowledge@Wharton)

The on-line journal Knowledge@Wharton asked me to talk for a half-hour about the significance and possible consequences of the French Presidential election. I was interviewed Tuesday by Editor-in-Chief Mukul Pandya and Editorial Director Robbie Shell. (See below.)

Two of the recurrent themes in my side of this conversation were "It's too soon to make firm predictions" and "It all depends...." (There were also a lot of important issues we didn't have time to get into, and others that could only be skimmed over.) Nevertheless, anyone who might be interested in hearing some of my speculations and reflections on these and related subjects, for what they're worth, can do so by going HERE and clicking on Play Audio.

--Jeff Weintraub

[Update 5/18/2007: Toward the end of the interview, I discussed rumors that Sarkozy might appoint the Socialist Bernard Kouchner as Foreign Minister and noted that, if this happened, it would mark a sharp symbolic break with the whole style that has dominated French foreign policy under Gaullist and Socialist Presidents alike. Well, it turns out that Kouchner is indeed France's new Foreign Minister. The practical consequences remain to be seen, but there's no question that this is a real coup de théâtre.]
Presidential Politics: What to Expect from France's Nicolas Sarkozy
Published: May 16, 2007 in Knowledge@Wharton
This article has been read 79,576 times

Play Audio | Download Audio

On May 6, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidential election, defeating socialist Segolene Royal and taking over from Jacques Chirac, who had held the positon for 12 years. The election drew a very high 85% turnout, which many saw as a sign that French voters recognize the need to get out from under their economic stagnation and social unrest. Sarkozy is depicted as a friend, but also a critic, of the U.S.; as a supporter, to some degree, of the European Union; and as a reformer bent on changing France's burdensome labor laws, but also willing to meet with union leaders. Knowledge@Wharton asked Jeff Weintraub, a visiting scholar with the University of Pennsylvania's political science department, to give us his views on the possible consequences of Sarkozy's election.

To read the view from Europe, go to our coverage from Universia Knowledge@Wharton.
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