Friday, April 07, 2006

French Revolution Redux

The French government is out of touch its people. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's First Contract Laws (CPE) set young workers back decades and resulted in massive rioting. Jacques Chirac failed to veto the bill despite the fact that 94% of French citizens oppose the law. In times of great social, economic, and political turmoil, the French like to pull out their favorite revolutionary weapons - the guillotine. This time the heads of de Villepin, Chirac, and the corporate government in France are on the chopping block.

The only politician in France that will come out of this conflict unscathed appears to be Ségolène Royal, a leading member of the Socialist Party of France. Royal has an outstanding record on social issues including education, gay rights, the environment, and workers' rights. She is also a member of Parliament, a regional president, and one time minister.

Royal has also come out as a leader on the left against the CPE, which has garnished her much credibility in labor and activist circles. She called the laws "a form of violence" against workers. Last month, Royal even campaigned for Michelle Bachelet, Chile's first woman President and a dedicated socialist.

Last September Royal declared herself as a possible candidate for the May 2007 Presidential elections. Even Bernadette Chirac, Jacques Chirac's wife, has said of her, "She can be a serious candidate and can even win." Polls taken recently show her inching ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy, the current Interior Minister and UMP Presidential candidate, thanks to her vehement opposition to the CPE.