Sarkozy and Hollande Attend Victory Day Celebration
Outgoing French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday conducted a ceremony commemorating the end of World War II alongside the president-elect Francois Hollande, a few days before Sarkozy steps down and the new president is sworn in.
Francois Hollande won the runoff last Sunday against right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy, after a campaign in which the two contenders attempted to win over the votes of the far-right National Front voters. Francois Hollande becomes the first left-wing president of France since iconic Francois Mitterand, back in the 1980s.
On Tuesday, Nicolas Sarkozy kicked off the ceremony by the Arc of Triomph by laying a wreath at the statue of Charles de Gaulle, former president and leader of Free French Front, in a bid highlighting the political roots of the outgoing president.
At the Champs-Elysees, the president shook hands with military officials and with the 90-year-old son of de Gaulle, Philippe. A cortege followed Sarkozy to the Place de l’Etoile, where the president and the outgoing prime minister inspected the troops.
The Associated Press reminds that the French Arc de Triomph holds a special significance since the Nazi troops paraded through it in 1940, and the Western troops celebrated victory at the Arc in 1945.
Francois Hollande joined Sarkozy, who was downbeat throughout the ceremony, at the WWI monument where he laid a wreath, then they both observed a few moments of silence at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.
Then they met with WWII military dignitaries before shaking hands in a very unusual move for the two statesmen who traded insults no more than a few days ago, while they were attempting to secure their votes.
Hollande said, in a speech on the occasion, that it was good for the people of France that the two former contenders can still come together and be united by the same cause, the country.
Hollande and Sarkozy are expected to meet on May 15, at Champs-Elysees, when the transfer of power is expected to be made. By then Francois Hollande is expected to announce the new premier.
There are four candidates which stand a good chance to be elected by the new president: member of parliament and former minister Michel Sapin; campaign manager Pierre Moscovici; Socialist Party secretary Marine Aubry; and leader of the Socialist group in the National Assembly Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Ayrault is said by analysts to stand a good chance to be selected because of his good ties with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is very important in the development of the European policies in the future.
The people of France however believe by 50 percent that Marine Aubry should be given the job of prime minister, while Ayrault falls behind Moscovici, 17 percent, and Laurent Fabius, 11 percent. Ayrault has a 10 percent popularity and Sapin scored 9 percent. A short list has on it Ayrault and Aubry’s names on it.
The Socialist president also promised to reinstate the office of prime minister as it is described by the constitution, that is the one which executes the broader agenda set forth by the president. This would be a shift in policy, considering that Sarkozy has overshadowed the premier’s office.
In an article on the effect the elections all over the world have on the American campaign, Fox News says that the vote in France, like the one in Greece, showed the world that Europeans reject the belt-tightening policies of the right-leaning parties and voted in France, for example, someone who promised to go easy on austerity and promote economic growth for a change.
Fox News believes that the first impact on America will be the fact that the world markets could be destabilized to some extent by the new policies promoted by the Socialist. Another fallout could impact on the national security of the United States, given that Sarkozy was a reliable ally of America on the international fronts, especially in Afghanistan and Libya.
The new administration in Paris is expected to pull out its troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and not to cooperate in any military endeavor the way Sarkozy did when it came to Libya.11