Why is Sarkozy so disliked in France?

The BBC has an interesting read about theories on why Sarkozy is so disliked. My own two cents is that France is a fairly conservative (with a small “c”) country and he thrives on being flashy, which people strongly dislike. His behavior was perhaps acceptable in his suburban neighborhood of Neuilly-sur-Seine where flashiness is more of the norm.

He was already well known nationally following his positions in various center-right government but apparently his tendencies were not well known enough. As a junior member of previous governments, he also was working for someone else rather than being the lead. Once he stepped out and assumed his role of leader, the more present he was the less people liked him.

What was previously viewed (by some) as action was eventually regarded (by many more) as little more than hyperactivity without direction. There was always talk of change but in the end, there wasn’t a great deal of actual change. One could also argue that France, like many countries, never really wanted change in the first place.

One of the great disappointments has been Sarkozy’s failure to ever move forward with his earlier talk of affirmative action. He often spoke about the issue (which in France is considered to be a conservative issue and hated by the left) and his first government was unusual in that it was not an all white male team. Once he ran into trouble he abandoned that diversity.

He also abandoned any effort to fix the glaringly obvious problems of racism in France. Some argue that he played the race card too often in his attempt to win the far right vote, leaving the problem for another day.

By Monday there should be a much clearer view of where the election will go in the second round. A few political analysts are suggesting there is much more support for Sarkozy among voters but until the votes are counted, we won’t know for sure.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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