Here's a poster that is being printed, posted on wallls and passed around on the internet. It's a take off on the official Sarkozy poster and the slogan translates to "Together, everything becomes possible". In this version, there are a lot of exceptions, the poor, foreigners, welfare clients, the Left, the Extreme Left, the Communists, Gays, temporary workers, people with AIDS, the handicapped, the minister of culture and education, the jounalists, the Independants,Les Noahs, Les Thuram (refers to the French superstar Yannick Noah who very publicly supports Segolene Royal and a popular actor, Thuram) and the guy who is having an affair with his wife.
He's slightly ahead in the polls with a week to go in the race. The numbers are very tight and the voters who cast their ballots for Francois Bayrou are being wooed by each side. Bayrous' UDF deputies have been threatened by Sarkozy to give him their support or risk losing their seats in the next election. Some have caved in. Some have really deserted their electorate because a lot of Bayrous areas were over whelmingly Socialist. The threat is that the UMP will put candidates up in the traditional UDF fiefdoms. There had been a tacit agreement that the UDF supports the UMP and they could exist unapposed. Complicated, eh? Bayrou is leaving his own party to form a new centrist party called the Partie Democrate or as it will be called in the French land of initials, the PD. Now, they thought this one up pretty late at night and didn't quite think it through. The French prononciation of the letters PD is pey-dey which is tthe French slang term for gay, pede. The commentators are already having a field day with that one.
So, in pursuit of the elusive Bayrou, Madame Royal proposed a debate with Francois.
Bayrou agreed and also wanted a dialogue with Sarkozy. He declined. Royal and Bayrou announced they would debate on television and the Sarkozy side freaked. They pulled strings and a few calls were made and the major networks were told that it wasn't politially legal. Soon it was revealed that these were empty threats and the debate was rescheduled and the press began to catch on that there was real supression and arm twisting. It backfired on Sarkozy and he was complaining that he was being smeared and they were ganging up on him. There was a huge rally in Lyon on Friday with a live televised endorsement from Prodi of Italy coming out for Royal. Bayrou has always stated that he supported and admired Prodi centrist philosophy. Dominic Strauss-Kahn, who is a friend of Bayrous' made an impassioned speech at the Rally imploring Francois to fully support Segolene. There were 20,000 people at the rally!
Today, at 11 am the debate took place and was for the most part a good natured discussion in which Bayrou and Royal were able to agree on most points, but of course, Bayrou is very conservative economically and there is where they differed.
On the other hand, the debate left no doubt that Bayrou personally will cast his vote for Segolene. The Freedom of Debate and the Press really got into the public eye today
and it didn't look good at all for Sarkozy.
The speculation is that there will be an "October Surprise" regarding the French hostages in Afghanistan. Today the Taliban released a woman hostage and there has been manuvering all week. The Taleban said it would reconsider and issue a statement next Saturday, the day before the election. I think the government is going to make a major concession to the Taleban, such as cutting French involvment and effect a hostage release at the last minute and try to play up the last minute PR value.
The next big event scheduled is Wenesdays face to face debate between Royal and Sarkozy. This will be an event. Insiders say that he is rattled and prepares with coaches for the encounter. In the past, she has blown him out of the water with a comment.
Sarkozy starts smooth and works himself into aggressive frenzies. He is a true demagogue and it is coming out more and more. He speaks to the press as if he was already president. If you watch him, he is pretty scary, like a good old fashioned fascist fire breather.
Segolene starts cool, stays cool and if she has to be harsh, it is a deadly twist of logic and sarcasm. She simply will not be intimidated by him and he knows it. Sarkozy uses the same stock answers and slogans over and over again. Segolene rarely repeats herself. Don't sell her short. She has whipped her own party into shape following her own instincts and managed to out manuver Sarkozy at every turn as well as dealing with the rest of the extreme left. All this and still looking beautiful and never losing her serenity. This woman will be part of a force that can influence the rest of the world if she is elected. We need Segolene Royal as a world leader now more than ever!