Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nicolas Sarkozy, the right-wing political party UMP’s candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections in France, which enters its first round next week, held a campaign meeting in Toulouse last Thursday, where he accused the left side political parties of betraying the ideals of Jaurès, Blum and other key socialist politicians. He compared the “left of old times” with the left nowadays, and said he wanted to “bring back to the heart of politics the values that the left side parties have betrayed.”

Former mayor of Toulouse Philippe Douste-Blazy welcomed more than 14 000 attendees to the city’s Parc des Expositions. He summarized the candidates political program by saying: “The Republic [of France, red.] is not about defending laxity and impunity for the agitators, it’s about guaranteeing the security and freedom of all through the respect of the laws and Justice.” Sarkozy was Minister of Interior Affairs during the 2005 suburban riots in France, when he instituted a zero-tolerance policy. Of one of Sarkozy’s rivals, François Bayrou, Douste-Blazy said that France didn’t need a President who “undergoes and refuses to make choices.”

In his speech of more than one hour, Sarkozy claimed the historical heritage of the founders of socialism and their values of right to work, payed holidays, social security, unemployment benefits, education, liberty of conscience, and of moral rights and the rights of the individual: “These values, I’ve wanted the Republican right side to reclaim them at a moment when the left side abandons them.” He also criticised François Hollande, chairman of the French Socialist Party, and with him his wife and the socialist candidate for the Presidential elections, Ségolène Royal, who, according to Sarkozy, “has forgotten Blum and Camus, and doesn’t know Jaurès.”

A week ago, Ségolène Royal held a speech in Carmaux, the home of Jaurès, where she proposed herself in continuity with Jaurès’ battle for the values of employment, concluding her speech by saying: “It’s important for the left side to know where we come from, because that helps also to foresee the future.”

On Wednesday, she held a meeting in Metz, where she accused Sarkozy of wanting to exercise power alone, of knowing everything, of wanting an unequal health care system and of following the laws of money. “He proposes us the law of the strongest. Do you want it? Me neither! And I propose to you the law of most justice.”