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November 18, 2005

Sarkozy Emerges As the Strong Man of the Sick Man of Europe

Remember, he's about as pro-US as one could hope for in a French politican:

France's weeks of riots may have created many victims, but they have also produced a clear victor: Nicolas Sarkozy, the ambitious interior minister who sees himself becoming the next French president.

While the French public has given general backing to president Jacques Chirac's government in cracking down on youths behind the urban violence, it is Sarkozy who has benefited most, according to a new survey out this week.

The Ipsos poll found his popularity has leapt 11 points to 63 percent, his "presidential vote potential" has climbed to 61 percent, and 68 percent supported his hardline approach to the unrest.

That puts him well ahead of prime minister Dominique de Villepin, whose popularity rose a more modest seven points to 50 percent, while Chirac lifted his rating by six points to 39 percent.

Villepin, who is seen as Chirac's designated heir for the 2007 presidential elections, had a "presidential vote potential" of 53 percent while the incumbent head of state -- who, at 72, is looking increasingly unlikely to stand again -- managed just 37 percent.

The numbers reveal where much of Sarkozy's fresh support comes from: 90 percent of voters in the camp of the extreme-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen (the 2002 presidential contender) think he is doing a good job.

Cute how they get that little zinger in, huh? As if the only people interested in someone who wants to stop rioting rabble are Nazis.


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posted by Ace at 01:00 PM

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