Early in his first term as president, Chirac (advised apparently by Villepin) threw away the center-right majority in parliament by calling an early – and unnecessary – election in an attempt to secure an even larger majority. In the event, the Socialists won that election and for the rest of his term Chirac was hobbled by the need to cohabit with the left.
Last year Jacques was back – re-elected to the presidency for a second term. The right won the parliamentary elections that followed and Chirac seemed set, at last, for success. It looks now as if he has blown it again. He’s extraordinarily popular now, but any retreat from the position he has taken (something that is probably essential if he is to regain the initiative within the EU and, should he care to, try to repair relations with the US) and his domestic credibility will be shattered.
In the meantime, the Daily Telegraph has some stories about the France that Jacques has built.
“Anti-war marches in Paris and around France have seen the burning of British and American flags, attacks on Jews and chants in support of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.”
“Many of the anti-war marches by teenage schoolchildren have featured violent, hateful chants against Israel and America.”
A cemetery for British war dead – vandalized.
That’s Chirac’s France.
“The government has been saying with increasing frequency that there is no justification for anti-Jewish, anti-American or anti-British violence.”
That’s Chirac trying to build an alibi.