Monday, June 4, 2007
The American press made a big deal out of the fact that Nicolas Sarkozy named Bernard Kouchner, a Socialist, as his Foreign Minister. But despite all the attention given to Kouchner's "humanitarian interventionist" approach, the move was mainly meant to provide bi-partisan political cover for Sarkozy heading into the parliamentary elections. Trouble is, although Kouchner's always been popular among the general public, he was something of a contrarian within the Socialist Party itself, often at odds with the party line on foreign policy (see Iraq), and resentful of the lack of respect he got from the party apparatus. So as Socialists go, he was really a consolation prize.
Jack Lang, on the other hand, has been both wildly popular and a Socialist Party fixture ever since serving as François Mitterand's Minister of Culture. (His brainchild, "La Fête de la Musique", is celebrated every year on June 21st with free street concerts and festivals in every town, village and city in France.)
And rumor has it that Sarkozy has offered him a cultural portfolio (probably on the level of special assistant to the President) to be announced after the legislative elections. For the time being, Lang's people are denying that any discussions have taken place. But if it turns out to be true, it would deal a heavy blow to the Socialist Party's hopes for reconstructing itself following its loss in the Presidential election and what looks to be a disappointing showing in parliamentary elections next week.