Sarkozy takes French presidency

Nicolas Sarkozy, “by far the most pro-Israeli French presidential figure Israel could have hoped for” according to one political analyst, won the runoff election for the presidency. He will take over his new post May 16. With
three quarters of votes counted Sunday night, Sarkozy, the UMP candidate, garnered some 53 percent of the vote Sunday against Socialist candidate Segolene Royal, who won 47 percent. In numbers not seen since 1974, 85 percent of French voters turned out, following a hard-fought campaign pitting the conservative Sarkozy against the liberal Royal, who conceded defeat soon after the polls closed. Many French Jews were seen as backing Sarkozy, known as an American-style law-and-order politician, for his hard line against Muslim unrest in France, including anti-Semitic attacks. Royal drew fire from the community for meeting with Hezbollah lawmakers in Beirut during a Mideast tour in December.Political expert Frederic Encel called Sarkozy “by far the most pro-Israeli French presidential figure Israel could have hoped for.” Encel said Sarkozy’s campaign speeches, political program and advisers will mean a more balanced approach on the Middle East, although the Israeli Foreign Ministry has said that France has made major changes in that approach in the past two years. Encel believes that Sarkozy is determined to improve relations with the United States, which in turn will mean better ties with Jerusalem.

NEXT STORY