Fri, Apr 20, 2012 - Page 9 News List

French election resembles Bonaparte versus Attlee

The French electorate may be merely casting their vote to reject Sarkozy or to express antipathy for Socialist candidate Hollande

By Dominique Moisi

Consider the recent cover of The Economist, which depicts Sarkozy and Hollande as the two male characters in Manet’s famous painting Dejeuner sur l’Herbe (Lunch on the Grass). Surrounded by naked women, they are supposed to illustrate the “French art of life” that France can no longer afford.

Where is Churchill and his call to arms, effort and sacrifice? Is France preparing to waste another five years, regardless of the election’s outcome?

Of course, in strong winds and high seas, the experience of the ship’s captain matters. Yet, given the problems of the French economy and the constraints of the EU, not to mention those of the world economy in a global age, no president will have much room to maneuver.

Dominique Moisi is the author of The Geopolitics of Emotion.

Copyright: Project Syndicate

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