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January 03, 2006

Chirac a "Spent Force"

I'm not so sure about the "force" part, but whatever:

President Jacques Chirac is being written off as a spent force as he embarks on what will almost certainly be his last full year in power. Even lawmakers in his own camp accept that France is ready for change at the top.

For the 73-year-old conservative leader, 2006 could hardly be worse than 2005. Last year, a suspected minor stroke, a referendum defeat, three weeks of riots in depressed suburbs, and jockeying to succeed him left Chirac looking marginalized and increasingly unlikely to seek a third term in 2007.

But Chirac shows no intention of going gently into the good night of retirement after four decades in politics. On Tuesday, in his 11th traditional presidential New Year address to his Cabinet, Chirac called for renewed efforts to tackle unemployment β€” still hovering at close to 10 percent β€” and France's ballooning debt.

He also cautioned would-be successors not to let their ambitions distract them from the government's mission β€” a warning seemingly aimed at Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who makes no secret of his desire to be the next resident of the presidential Elysee Palace.

Sarkozy's dueling for supremacy with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, put on temporary hold while they rallied together during the suburban rioting in November, is expected to grow in potentially destabilizing intensity in 2006.

Princeton could use a man like Sarkozy.

H/t Allah.

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posted by Ace at 02:38 PM

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