Monday, June 18, 2007
The Blue Ripple
The major news this morning here in France was the surprising rebound of the Socialist Party in the second round of the legislative elections. While Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP still managed to win a 60% parliamentary majority, it was nowhere near the 75% tidal wave that had been forecast as late as a few days ago.
There are a number of explanations, including the UMP coming down with a case of political tone-deafness between the two rounds. Talking about raising the sales tax by 5% in order to make up for a reduction in corporate payroll taxes, for instance, isn't exactly how you gather people behind an economic reform package.
But the real message sent by French voters was that they still believe in the value of a strong opposition. They gave Sarkozy the comfortable margin he needs to pass his reform agenda. But by saving the Socialists from electoral meltdown, they guaranteed that someone would be around to keep him honest.