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Un nouveau président

Scott Jagow May 7, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: Yesterday, the people of France elected a new president to replace Jacques Chirac. His name is Nicolas Sarkozy. Joining us from Paris, reporter John Laurenson. John, tell us about Mr. Sarkozy.

JOHN LAURENSON: Well he’s a career politician. He’s in his late 40s I believe, a relatively young man. This is the first time that he’s stood for the presidency and hey, he’s won straight away, and that usually doesn’t happen in French politics. On economic policy, he’s seen as l’Américain — the American. He is the guy who would like to free up the French economy.

JAGOW: Hmm, and what does that mean?

LAURENSON: Well very specifically he’d like to reform French work contracts. At the moment you’ve got short-term contracts and when you’re done with a couple of those, which last maybe six months each, then your employer is obliged to hire you for a lifetime contract. Now Sarkozy realizes that the current situation is stopping employers hiring people so in order to bring down unemployment, he’s proposing to replace those two contract with something more flexible and something more along the lines of what you might see in America.

JAGOW: Well obviously a lot of French people like Sarkozy, because they just elected him. What’s the mood there in France right now with him coming into office?

LAURENSON: I’d say there’s a real feeling of optimism actually. There’s a feeling that the economy has an enormous economic strength that’s just waiting for somebody to unleash it. On the other hand there’s a feeling that this is the guy who’s going to provoke the labor unions on the one hand and perhaps even the disadvantaged and therefore his election could lead to conflict with the streets in the future.

JAGOW: Alright John Laurenson in Paris, thanks so much.

LAURENSON: Thank you.

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