By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
Europeans might eventually agree on a text, says Wesselius, but a constitution would only become clear after interpretations of the text began.
For now, adds Wesselius, "lawyers are sitting in the position of a politician. They can determine what basic laws are governing Europe. I think that's a bad thing."
In France especially, the political fallout from that country's "no" vote is viewed as a way to break the gridlock of stagnant French politics and propel forward a man of the rightnot leftas an agent of change. But he's not a man of the far right. His name is Nicolas Sarkozy, originally a Chirac protégé, the new interior minister, head of the ruling center-right political party, and widely thought to be first in line to be the next president of France. Most of all, he is seen as the one man who can block the rise of LePen and the far right.
Sarkozy, who has Hungarian roots, first became budget minister in 1993 under Edouard Balladur, whom he backed in his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1995. Previously Sarkozy had been close to Chirac, once even dating his daughter. But his supporting Balladur was an act of betrayal Chirac couldn't stomach, and he turned against Sarkozy, attempting to block his political rise. However, by 2002 Chirac was in trouble, and Sarkozy was brought back into government as interior minister, this time accompanied by his wife, Cecilia, as a key adviser. Like the Clintons, the two became a power couple in politics.
Sarkozy is a man of the right. He is for deregulation and wants to downsize the welfare state. He wants the French to contribute to medical coverage (which is now pretty much free). He is willing to extend the work week from the current 35 hours.
One good thing about him: The elites don't like his manners. Sarkozy goes into the bad neighborhoods, and he works closely with Muslim groups. As the new interior minister, he runs the police and will have considerable sway in the war against terror. He is pro-American, admires Tom Cruise, and is given to a sort of pragmatism, saying things like this: "The rigidities of ideology limit your choices when the best solutions might involve a mix: more liberalism where best, intervention when necessary."