Sarko is in for a long month

FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images There’s no relief in sight for French President Nicolas Sarkozy as he braces for yet another political setback. This Sunday, French voters will head to the polls for municipal elections and Sarkozy’s UMP party is likely to get creamed. The last three French presidents have all been former mayors and these elections ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
596087_080307_sarko2.jpg
596087_080307_sarko2.jpg

FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images

There's no relief in sight for French President Nicolas Sarkozy as he braces for yet another political setback. This Sunday, French voters will head to the polls for municipal elections and Sarkozy's UMP party is likely to get creamed. The last three French presidents have all been former mayors and these elections are a fairly good indicator of the political mood of the country. Incumbent UMP mayors are trailing in opinion polls in Marseille, Toulouse, and Strasbourg. The expected defeats would leave Nice as the only major French city under UMP control. Sarkozy, whose approval rating has now dropped to 38 percent, was embarassingly forced to withdraw support last month for the candidate he had hand-picked to fill his former office in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Sarkozy has appeared at only one campaign rally leading up to the election while still-popular Prime Minister François Fillon has taken the lead in stumping for the UMP. Many prominent UMP candidates have even campaigned without the party's logo on their Web site and literature.

FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty Images

There’s no relief in sight for French President Nicolas Sarkozy as he braces for yet another political setback. This Sunday, French voters will head to the polls for municipal elections and Sarkozy’s UMP party is likely to get creamed. The last three French presidents have all been former mayors and these elections are a fairly good indicator of the political mood of the country. Incumbent UMP mayors are trailing in opinion polls in Marseille, Toulouse, and Strasbourg. The expected defeats would leave Nice as the only major French city under UMP control. Sarkozy, whose approval rating has now dropped to 38 percent, was embarassingly forced to withdraw support last month for the candidate he had hand-picked to fill his former office in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Sarkozy has appeared at only one campaign rally leading up to the election while still-popular Prime Minister François Fillon has taken the lead in stumping for the UMP. Many prominent UMP candidates have even campaigned without the party’s logo on their Web site and literature.

To add insult to injury, the former Mme. Sarkozy, Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, is remarrying this month in New York. Hope the staff is treading lightly in the Élysée Palace these days.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.