Here’s l’update for those of you who are bedazzled by the French presidential election. The two candidates had their only debate on Wednesday night. We have written many, many words about it below, but if you prefer, you can listen to a hip-hop remix of François Hollande’s statements and a daft-punk remix of Sarkozy.
Le Petit Prince Sarkozy, who’s a bit sensitive about his diminutive height, regularly belittled his opponent François Hollande during Wednesday night’s one and only debate before the final round of voting this Sunday. Sarkozy, confident of his well-known command of the teevee medium, demanded that Hollande participate in three debates (because of his other nickname, l’Americain). But Hollande refused, because he’s tall.
Sarkozy bent over backwards in recent media interviews to try and convince extreme-right, third-place winner Marine Le Pen to throw her 18% of voters his way, but to no avail. Le Pen announced on May 1 that both candidates are exactly the same (i.e. blah- and Muslin- lovers), so she will vote “blank” on Sunday. She told her followers to vote with their conscience and asked them to hold off until the June legislative elections when they can be “soldiers” who must “fight” for “our France.” (Sound familiar?) Centrist François Bayrou, who won 10% of the early vote, said he’d never vote for Sarkozy, so “the only one left” is Hollande. (Sound familiar?) Without cross-over votes from centrists and the extreme right, Sarkozy will soon be pawning his Rolex and moving into Carla’s chateau to pout.
The grueling mano-a-mano debate started at 9pm and lasted almost three hours. Hollande never budged from his rigid schoolmarm position, while Sarkozy flailed about – righteously indignant, arms waving, red-faced – and regularly called Hollande a liar. British member of the twiterati, Alex Harrowell, described Sarkozy thusly: Sarko amazingly queeny. Everything is “blessant”, “calomnieuse”. If he had pearls he’d be clutching them.
Several of Sarko’s insults also contained the word ‘little’ — “You little slanderer!” — and when criticizing Hollande’s plans to deal with the EU crisis, Sarkozy demanded, ‘You think it will suffice to show up in your little suit?’ We don’t know, guy who was called the “emperor with no clothes” by American diplomats in Wikileaked cables. Maybe Hollande could borrow yours?
The candidates threw out an astonishing number of financial statistics in the overly long economic part of the debate, all of which were only kind of true. But the boredom with numbers was occasionally brightened by accusations and counter-attacks regarding who sleazily associated with whom. Sarkozy accused Hollande of having breakfast with Mitterand (Mitterand used to have secret, illegal fund-raising breakfasts), so Hollande threw L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettancourt (and her envelope full of campaign cash) right back at ‘im. Sarkozy accused Hollande of being from the party of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Hollande’s riposte was, “Well you were the one who pushed him as head of the International Monetary Fund.” Oh, le snap!
The debate moved to the sensitive topic of immigration, where Sarkozy tried again to woo the extreme-right with statements about too many blah people in France like, “Do you know where these people are coming from? From North Africa. From sub-Saharan Africa.” He conveniently forgot the fact that these areas used to be part of France. Ahem. Then he said something that nobody has been able to figure out: he wants “French Islam, not Islam in France.” Satirical Twitterater ElyseeFranglais interpreted Sarkozy’s Islam position as, “We want a French Islam. More stylish mosques, Dior Hijabs and more Imams in berets selling onions on bicycles.”
All in all, it looks like Sarko’s chances are dim for Sunday’s election (latest Harris poll: Hollande with a positively Obamian 53% and Sarkozy 47%). We’ll be following #RadioLondres for the funny side of the vote and report back on Monday, if we are not still drunk. So, ready yourselves, because it looks like socialism will reign once again across the land of cheap bread, wine, regulated telecoms and universal healthcare. Expect a quick descent down a slippery-snail slope towards Marxist Godlessness, man-on-dog marriages and Sharia law. Or, just the same old France we know and try to love.