Sarko will run against “Ségo”. The French will get what the opinion-making media elites had hoped for: the presidential campaign will focus on the confrontation between two highly mediatised political figures of the same generation, representing a break with the Chirac era, but also standing for distinctly different styles of communicating with the French people. Nicolas Sarkozy’s consecration as ruling right-wing UMP’s presidential candidate by 98,1 % of party members put a definite end to an internal debate, after opponents like Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie had finally resigned to endorse the candidacy of Sarkozy. His election to the UMP’s sole candidate was celebrated as an “anointment”; the bombastic staging of his proclamation at the Porte de Versailles outside of Paris on 14th January cost the party 3,5 million euros, a sum unheard of in previous French presidential elections and representing almost one-third of the whole budget of Sarkozy’s campaign.
Rebirth of a saviour?
Matthias Waechter is director of the Institut Européen des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Nice. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Freiburg, where he has taught for seven years. He has published widely on American and French contemporary history and culture. His most recent book ‘The myth og Gaullism (2006) traces the history of gaullism in post-war France and was awarded the 2007 French-German Parliamentary Priz