France, tangled up in a presidential election with major implications for the Eurozone, has gotten used to watching President Nicholas Sarkozy getting clobbered in a historic fashion by socialist François Hollande.But on Tuesday, the country woke up to the news—quelle horreur—that their presumed and possibly written-off loser was suddenly ahead in the polls, or in one poll, to be precise.
And the main media outlets, which had been so ready for a change at the Elysée, fell all over each other to doubt the results.
During the first round, when a whole slew of candidates go at each other with knife and fork for the top two spots, Sarkozy would obtain 28.5% of the vote, and Hollande 27%, both well ahead of the pack. 40 days till the election, and there’s finally a poll that shows Sarkozy in first place.
“That’s just froth,” deadpanned Sarkozy.
Perhaps it has something to do with Hollande’s ambitious tax-raising program—ambitious even for the French who tax everything out the wazoo. Key element: a 75% income tax bracket aimed in his populist manner at the chieftains of the largest companies and banks. Instantly, a hullabaloo broke out, not among his targets, but in the world of soccer, the people’s sport. For how this has mushroomed into a calamity for Hollande, read…. Killing a 75% Income Tax.
In the second round, Sarkozy would still get clobbered with only 45.5% of the vote, against Hollande’s 54.4%. Nevertheless, the first-round numbers were a glimmer of hope for Sarkozy. In his desperation, he’d made Germany the economic model for France, which didn’t sit well with French workers when they noticed what it would mean for them, and he’d even made a pact with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is trying to protect her own oeuvre, a Europe of balanced budgets tied together by a new fiscal-union treaty—which Hollande had vowed to eviscerate. But now, Merkel raised the stakes by roping in three powerful allies and lining them up against Hollande—to keep Sarkozy in power. Read…. Next Phase in Merkel’s Desperate and Risky Gamble.
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