Sarkozy’s Last Stand

Few countries in the world offer a political canvas as eccentric as France’s. There are ten candidates on the ballot for this Sunday’s presidential election: Six of them are socialists of one stripe or another, one is an avowed Communist, and another represents the openly racist and generally execrable Front National. The remaining two are centrists in that peculiarly French way; only one of them has a shot, and he will, in all likelihood, lose.

About Sunday’s election, it is difficult to conclude anything other than that Nicolas Sarkozy’s days as premier are numbered. He and his leading foe, François Hollande, have left the remaining contenders behind, but M. Sarkozy is trailing in head-to-head polls by an average of 15 points, meaning he will almost certainly be beaten in a run-off. This will be a shame, for the end of his tenure will be the end of France’s brief flirtation with economic reform.

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