By Peter Schwarz:
The coronation of Nicolas Sarkozy
French interior minister named Gaullist presidential candidate
20 January 2007
The January 14 anointing of French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy as the presidential candidate of the governing Gaullist party, the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), in this year’s elections was a chilling spectacle.
In politics, it is necessary to avoid superficial parallels. Sarkozy is not a fascist and the Gaullist UMP is not a fascist movement—at least not at this point.
Nevertheless, Sarkozy’s style in many respects evokes disquieting memories of the most horrific period in European history.
There was the mass parade of 80,000 jubilant members of his party, which terms itself a “movement.”
There was the 98 percent result in the poll of UMP delegates in favour of his candidacy. And there was the non-stop invocation of honour, nation and patriotism.
Amidst the bombastic trappings more appropriate to the crowning of a monarch, Sarkozy used his acceptance speech at the UMP convention to condemn the class struggle and call for the surmounting of differences between left and right.
“My France,” he declared, “is that of all Frenchmen, who basically do not know if they stand on the right, the left or the centre because they are, above all, of good will.”
He sought to reconcile the irreconcilable: “My France is the country which carried out the synthesis between the Ancien Régime and revolution, between the Capulet state and the Republican state.”
“Capulet” here is a mistranslation (maybe by computer?) into English of “Capet“, the French pre revolutionary royal dynasty.
Peter Schwarz had “Capet” right in the German original of this article.
He [Sarkozy] evoked the figure of the socialist opponent of war, Jean Jaurès, who was murdered at the start of the First World War, and Georges Clemenceau, the prime minister who in 1918 declared his intention of continuing the war to the bitter end.
Frrench satirical weblog on Sarkozy: here.