Today at 10:30 AM EDT, my guest will be Erik Svane of No Pasaran, live from the Cannes Film Festival.

We talked about the Cannes Film Festival, French politics, and his books.

Listen Live
Updated The link goes directly to this morning’s podcast. We had a small audio problem in the middle of the podcast but hold on and you’ll hear Erik’s comments on Sarko’s new cabinet.


French elections: Sarko ahead WINS!

Updated with link to his victory speech. Scroll down


The official results have just been broadcast on French TV.

Bloomberg: French Vote for President as Sarkozy-Royal Race Ends

Welcome, Captain’s Quarters, Red State and Instapundit readers. Please read my post on The integration debate, and what we can learn from it.

CNN: Sarkozy wins French presidency
BBC: Sarkozy ‘wins French presidency’

Update, 5:50PM More at Instapundit; let’s hope the economic revolution does take place.
Initial Report Of Unrest In France; there were only slightly more car burnings last night than the night before the first round elections.
Sarko’s official website has been down since 11AM EDT, but here’s his Victory Speech

The French people have spoken and have chosen to make a break with the ideas, the customs and the behaviour of the past. I am thus going to restore the status of work, authority, standards, respect, merit. I am going to give the place of honour back to the nation and national identity. I am going to give back to the French people pride in France…

I want to issue an appeal to our American friends, to tell them that they can count on our friendship, which has been forged in the tragedies of history which we have faced together.

He then went on to get all mushy about global warming, but I’m gobsmacked to hear a French president elect actually say those words.

You can watch excerpts of his speech with translation here

Here’s Segolene Royal‘s speech.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s CV, via Gates of Vienna

8:40PM EDT Sarkozy goes to dinner. Bon appetit!

Follow-up post, Monday 7 May Sarko: What next?


1:50 PM EDT
Le Figaro says the results are official: Sarko won.
Huge rally on the Place de la Concorde being broadcast right now right here, along with more live coverage (in French). The Concorde, Tuileries and Madeleine metro stations are closed because of the rally.

Captain’s Quarters is also posting on the election.


1:40PM L’Ombre de l’Olivier posts that The Times of London calls it for Sarko, too.

AFP story.


Update, 1PM EDT: Whoah!
75.11% turnout at 5 pm

By 5 pm, 75.11 percent of France’s 44.5 million registered voters had casted their ballot, up from 73.87% in the April 22 first round and from 67.6% percent in the 2002 election, said the interior ministry.

Via No Pasaran, The Socialists say, Sarkozy president

(The next two links are in French)
Liberation reports that some districts had 86% turnout, and the podium for Sarko’s victory speech is being set up on the Place de la Concorde.

Liberation is not happy. Over at Le Monde, Sarkozy’s supporters do not doubt their success

30 Cars Burned. Riot Police on Alert. French Voter Turnout Gigantic


34.11% turnout at noon, the highest turnout in more than three decades:

By midday, 34.11 percent of France’s 44.5 million registered voters had casted their ballot, up from 31.21 percent in the April 22 first round and from 26.2 percent in the 2002 election, said the interior ministry.

No Pasaran is also on the election beat.

More later.
(I’m hoping Daniel will post on it, too.)


h/t Jeremayakovka

France2 livefeed will start at 18:45 (12:45 EDT) Paris time, with results starting at 20:00hrs (4PM EDT).


The integration debate, and what we can learn from it

The NY Times has an article on the immigration debate in France titled, In French Bid, Immigrant’s Son Battles Reputation as Anti-Immigrant. In it, at least they give Sarko credit:

The possible next president of France is the son of an immigrant with a very un-French name who has done as much, if not more, than any other French official to improve the status of minorities.

He knows the pain of being an outsider and even advocates American-style affirmative action, heresy for many people in officially colorblind, egalitarian France.

The problem is that no matter how much France wants to officially paint itself colorblind and egalitarian, it is not. Everything in France is determined by who you know, what school you attend, and what colleges you graduate from. Nobody knows that better than Sarko:

Mr. Sarkozy himself has struggled as an outsider, describing himself as a “little Frenchman of mixed blood” who rose to the top of French politics without going through the normal channels of the elite Ecole Nationale d’Administration as Ms. Royal did.

At the same time, France has a large minority of unintegrated aliens who have lived there for generations. Whether the French assumed that the immigrants would “naturally” become French out of their own initiative, or didn’t care, the fact is that these unintegrated long-term residents, many of which are illegal aliens, have become a huge problem. While the NYT first referred to these individuals as “youths”, the customary euphemism, later on in the article (13th paragraph) it does mention that the “youths” are mostly Muslim.

Sarko has favored aggressive action to integrate them into French society,

He encouraged the creation of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, which gave Islam a voice in France. He appointed the first prefect in France who is both foreign-born and Muslim. He has even argued for relaxing rules that restrict government support for building mosques.

And he supports affirmative action, which the Socialists steadfastly oppose.

In addition, Sarko has suggested that the illegal aliens be granted the right to vote in local elections. But there’s one thing: he wants integration, not accommodation:

While Mr. Sarkozy has moderated his language and struck a more conciliatory tone in the presidential campaign, he did not help matters by proposing last year that France have a ministry of immigration and national identity to ensure that new citizens adhered to France’s secular values.

To many people in the suburbs, the idea seemed to be a way to suppress cultural differences in favor of a traditional French way of life.

Those cultural differences have become a huge rift in the social fabric. That is always the cast when a section of the residents of a country are not integrated. Many other European countries are in the same quandary.

And that brings us to the crux of any discussion regarding immigration: integration.

In France, as elsewhere, opportunists will use the rifts for their own perfidious purposes: witness Segolene Royal’s statement that

if he [Sarkozy] is elected, “democracy will be threatened,” The Associated Press reported. She said she felt a “responsibility to raise the alert about the risks of this candidacy and the violence and brutality that will be set off in the country.”

Political opportunism can be found anywhere in the world. Political opportunism will not get anyone integrated into anything other than discord and strife.

I have discussed immigration on Blog Talk Radio with my guests Pieter Dorsman and Siggy, and with Captain Ed; and also privately with my neighbor TigerHawk. We all have independently arrived at the same conclusion: integration is the issue.

Integration can be even more problematic when there’s a religious aspect: As Pieter said in his blog after our conversation,

It is important to understand that failed Muslim integration to a large extent has resulted from the long held belief that allowing different religious pillars to exist in The Netherlands would contribute to a solution like it had in the past for the Catholic-Protestant divide on which the nation was built. The problem is that a template for neutralizing religious tensions between a culturally and economically largely homogenous group has limited use to integrate a group that both ethnically and economically occupies a different and separate world. Add to that the fact that Catholic and Protestant structures have largely become defunct in one of Europe’s most secular nations and you can picture the divergent tracks in Dutch society.

Even among Catholics and Protestants, one of the things I discussed with Captain Ed is that many churches are not facilitating integration because they hold foreign-language services. The newcomers are made to remain aliens.

Important as it is, the religious aspect is only one part of the problem. Both in Europe and in the USA we now have a new kind of immigrant – those who, to use Siggy’s words,

“they don’t say I want to participate, they don’t say I want to contribute, they say, I want”.

The task of any society is to teach its citizenry what it means to be a citizen of that society. A large part of being a citizen of any society is knowing that participating and contributing is at least as important as demanding.

We are doomed to relive France’s current problems in America if we don’t make a concerted effort to integrate and assimilate immigrants.

In America’s case, the first place to start is with language.

As I have mentioned before, children of immigrants need to learn English in order to fully master American life. For them not to master English means a handicapped life.

But acculturation is not simply being bilingual:

Prior generations of immigrants, once they arrived in the USA were taught, by the public schools and by other civic organizations, traditional American values; more specifically, middle-class, Protestant values, within a Judeo-Christian tradition. People learned to read English by reading the King James Bible. The Protestant work ethic was promoted through Horatio Alger stories, and the value of delayed gratification was spoken of. School curricula stressed discipline and the “three R’s”, and included famous sermons, such as Governor John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity. People were taught and encouraged to serve their communities through volunteering, a most American trait. In short, immigrants were directed towards what it meant to live in an American culture; no one assumed that simply knowing the language meant one was acculturated.

In today’s PC environment, that has nearly disappeared from the curricula.

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a minor holiday in Mexico that is given a lot of publicity in the USA.

Here in Princeton the Princeton Shopping Center had a live salsa band (I didn’t ask the musicians where they were from, but Mexican salsa is something you eat, Caribbean salsa is something you dance to), pony rides for the kids and hot dogs for all. In all, a pretty well integrated atmosphere for a festive day in truly glorious Spring weather. Cinco de Mayo’s as good a name as May Madness, as far as I’m concerned, while May 5th would be even better.

By all means, have a Cinco de Mayo party, celebrate St Patricks, Columbus Day and every other holiday. I’m certainly in favor of celebrating and getting as much joy out of life as we can.

But let’s not have a lesson unlearned: what the French are dealing with now can happen here.

Integration is the key.

More on the French elections tomorrow.

Update, Sunday 6 May Pieter Dorsman has an excellent article about Holland. I’ll post more on it later this week.


The French presidential debate

Nidra Poller describes it,

Segolene Royal was nervous and aggressive from the get-go. She attacked, jabbed, taunted. She stared at him with narrowed angry eyes. Her voice was harsh. She spoke through clenched teeth. And, as I expected, before the debate was over, an issue hit her panic button, she lost control and turned spitfire.

That’s it, right? That’s what everyone was waiting for. Could two rivals in fierce competition handle themselves with dignity in a two hour face to face, or would one of them fall into a trap and explode?
Yes. Except that it was supposed to be Nicolas Sarkozy.

The first media reactions came to us on France 3. The debate after the debate. Four guests for Royal, four for Sarkozy. Two moderators.

Royal was praised by her loyal supporters who had no doubt that she had won the debate. They were honest enough to admit that she did not necessarily win votes, but her performance in the debate was dazzling. She was so deliciously pugnacious. Yes, pugnacious. And when she went into that riff, shouting at Sarkozy for minutes on end, totally out of control, and he told her, calmly, that a president doesn’t blow her top, she slammed back, “I am not blowing my top, I am revolted! I have a right to be revolted at what you said! I am angry, I am not blowing my top!” Well, they took her at her word.

Nicolas Sarkozy couldn’t fool them, oh no, they could see through his deceptions. Everyone knows how hot-tempered he is. And he just sat there, looking relaxed, speaking calmly, never raising his voice or his hand. To hear them describe it, it was almost too evil. A brutal man like that should at least have the honesty to show his real face.

iNo Pasaran! has the video (n French).

Here’s the BBC video report. You know who the Beeb reporter’s rooting for: starting with comparing Sarko to Dracula, the reporter concludes with,

This is probably Ms Royal’s last chance to make her ground before Sunday’s vote. Her performance was combative and assured. But was it enough?

The election is on Sunday.

On a lighter mode, Sarko has a wonderful voice, doesn’t he?

Update: Commenter Ricky sent a link to the highlights of the debate with English translation



French elections round-up

The decisive factor will now be which of the two is more successful in attracting voters from the centre ground in the May 6 runoff election. Update Don’t miss also Daniel‘s post on the results.

Bloomberg, Monsters and Critics, BBC, all mention the 85% turnout. More (in French) at France2

The results are in
: Streaming video at France24 (click on “Live Feed”) Sarkozy 30%; Royal 25.2%; Bayrou 18%
Sarko and Royal go to the runoffs on May 6.
LePen’s out of the game.
Nidra Poller reports from the street.

Earlier this week, AJC Briefing – French Presidential Elections and The Economist had commentary.

Via Jeremayakovka, Party Poopers

Times (UK) Sarkozy all smiles as France goes to the polls

France 24

10:40 AM:
Red State: FRANCE-Pres: Poll Analysis and Outcome
No pasaran: Election Watch: the French obliged to look elsewhere to learn what’s going on at home
Pajamas Media who says, You know something strange is up when a French presidential contender poses in a red plaid shirt on horseback. What, no Stetson?
Washington Post
Can France be saved?

In French:
Le Figaro and France2 are talking about high turn-out.
13 Heures


Will continue to update throughout the day.


The election debate over immigration…

… in France:

Following last week’s rioting at the Gare du Nord, and acussations that the hostility between police and young people is a direct result of his hardline policies, Sarkozy in clash over immigration

The frontrunner in the French presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy, has said France is “exasperated by uncontrolled immigration”.

“What exasperates France?” Mr Sarkozy asked at a news conference on Monday. “France is exasperated by the dispute about national identity, by uncontrolled immigration, by fraud, by waste”.

He said there was “an obvious link between 30 or 40 years of a policy of uncontrolled immigration and the social explosion in French cities”.


On Sunday Mr Sarkozy, himself the son of a Hungarian immigrant, accused his main rival, Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, of “hysteria” over her reaction to his comments on immigration and national identity.

Ms Royal replied on the French channel TV5 by calling his comments “contemptuous, shocking and humiliating”.

The hostility between police and young people has a lot to do with France’s lack of integration of immigrants, unemployment, and other things not related to Sarkozy. The electoral debate has centered on national identity and law and order, as would be expected, considering the ever-present, ever-festering Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, which the French government defined as

The sensitive urban zones (ZUS) are infra-urban areas defined by the authorities to be a high-priority target for city policy, taking into consideration local circumstances related to the problems which the inhabitants of these areas have.

Anti-Semitic incidents continue, with Jewish gravestones vandalized in northern France before Passover

In a characteristic French symbollic gesture, all the candidates have featured the French flag, and are singing the national anthem in every rally, in a “Moi?, I’m more French than vous” way.

Sarkozy is the only one talking tough on immigration and integration. There is, however, a lot of talk about globalization, in the form of calls for more protectionism and more government benefits. That is, even in the face of two unemployment rates (h/t No Pasaran), and onerous regulations that hinder competition.

France’s only centrist minister deserts Bayrou, the third-runner, a member of his own party. Bayrou’s theme is that he’ll make the main parties work together if he’s elected. Considering how Chirac and Jospin got along, I’d say that Bayrou’s an optimist.

Today Airbus workers will go on strike to protest a restructuring plan involving massive layoffs, since the company’s broke.


A high-speed French train with a modified engine and wheels broke the world speed record today by traveling more than 350 miles-per-hour. This means that France will continue to be in the running (pun intended) for high-speed train contracts, along with the Japanese.


Looking at the French elections today, from here in New Jersey

This morning’s BBCA TV newscast had a report on how the French are polling cats and dogs. Apparently dogs favor Sarko, cats favor Sego. No word at all on what sector of the fauna favors Bayrou. The dog featured in the report was named Ernest Hemingway, which added a little literary flavor.

Both The Economist and The Wall Street Journal have articles on the Chirac legacy and what went wrong. Both notice how each of the three leading candidates to succeed Chirac is standing on an anti-Chirac platform.

Denis Boyles at National Review, however, finds a deleterious effect on Sarkozy,

The other tearful political moment of the week was Dominique de Villepin’s confession on national radio-captured here by Liberation – that he was endorsing Sarkozy. The tears were Sarko’s because the impact was immediate: Less than 24 hours after getting Villepin’s endorsement, Sarkozy had dropped a point-and-a-half in the polls. It’s taken him all week just to stop the slide.

And last, but not least, on Wednesday the New York Times reported that Le Pen had gathered the requisite signatures to make it to the ballots.

Cross-posted at France24