Sarkozy’s defeat- an opportunity for advancing the rights of minorities in France


Nicolas Sarkozy’s defeat is a good thing for all minorities in France. Rarely the practice of power has been more centralized, even in France, like in the last five years: for Nicolas Sarkozy and his counselors, each power which was not under their control was a rival and had to be fought. Each dissonant voice was considered as a stranger to the “real” people (understood as people who voted for the right and extreme-right parties). In this context, it was really difficult, again more than before, to support any autonomist demand, or to ask for more power to the regions. The purpose of the organization of a debate about national identity in France was not an occasion to remind us about the French state’s violent origin and it’s heritage, and to find ways to overcome this historical problem; it was only a tentative to discriminate once more the Muslim part of the population.

But last Sunday, the real people have chosen to end this period and to vote for François Hollande, the socialist candidate. We could not have found someone more different from Nicolas Sarkozy. François Hollande does not say that he is able to end alone all the problems in the country. One of his main campaign themes was his will to respect the democratic institutions like the Parliament, Government, and local collectivities, and to be less authoritarian than his predecessor in his discussions with other European states. His vision of the Nation is more open too: he promised to ratify the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and to go on with the politics of decentralization. But it is better to stay careful: on many issues, like environmental politics, he seems not to be very different from Nicolas Sarkozy; maybe only less dangerous. The next two weeks, with the choice of the Prime Minister, he will reveal what kind of politics he really wants to apply, and the next month, with the legislative elections, what kind of politics he can really apply.

The number of autonomist and ecologist deputies may determine the political choices for the next five years, in helping the new President to pursue green and leftwing politics and prevent him from doing the same errors that his predecessor did.