Tuesday, May 31, 2005
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: French President Appoints Villepin as New Prime Minister

President Jacques Chirac of France fired his loyal, long-suffering prime minister today, a direct response to the country’s decisive rejection of a referendum on the constitution for Europe that was as much as rejection of his 10-year presidency.

In announcing the resignation of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Elysée Palace named Interior Minister and former Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin as his replacement.

The choice of Mr. de Villepin, 51, a well-born, high-octane former career diplomat who has never held elected office and writes poetry in his spare time, means that Mr. Chirac has no intention of abandoning his vision of a grand and glorious France with a unique leadership mission in the world.

Ok, not tha there is anything wrong with writing poetry in one’s spare time, but it is rather amusing that given the stereotypical views that Americans have of the French that that would be the factoid that the NYT would choose to put in the second paragraph. There is also something quite European about noting that Villepin is “well-born.”

Of course, we will all remember Villepin as France’s Foriegn Minister durig the lead-up to the Iraq war.

I do not know enough about French politics to undertand the implications of this move, although if the following assessment is correct, it strikes as as an odd one given Chirac’s current situation:

Mr. de Villepin is not liked by much of the French political establishment, including deputies in Parliament who consider him distant from the people and complain that he does not bother to consult them.

In regards to the “no” vote itself, this is interesting:

On Monday, the shock waves of France’s rejection of a constitution for Europe reverberated throughout the Continent, with Britain suggesting that it might cancel its own popular vote on the document and the naysayers in the Netherlands gaining even more confidence that a no vote will prevail in a referendum there on Wednesday.

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2 Responses to “Villepin: France’s New Prime Minister”

  1. Isaac B2 Says:

    I know you must have seen this article, which discusses Europe’s common hatred for the French.

  2. Chuck Simmins Says:

    How could the French President appoint a man as Prime Minister who is so patently anti-American? This is not at all helpful for Franco-American relations. de Villepin’s immoderate use of language about the United States and his clearly duplicitous dealings with the United States and its enemies should have disqualified him from serving in this post. The President of France has a moral and ethical obligation to pursue policies and appoint individuals which would narrow the gap between our two nations.

    France already suffers from a world-wide opinion of it as a rogue nuclear state, as well as a state that pursues a foreign policy bereft of international sanction. Its unilateral military interventions and neo colonialist policies have made it nearly a pariah in the world. Only a foreign policy dedicated to rapprochement with the United States can restore any of France’s former prestige on the world stage. This appointment does not pursue that goal, but make it much more difficult to achieve. [/sarcasm]

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