Chapter 11: Conclusion: Sarkoland
The Fifth Republic held its eighth presidential election just as I was finishing this book. Like many before it, the 2007 presidential election marked a major transition in French political life. In the past, most elections involved a leader with a new set of ideas replacing someone whose views had lost most of their popularity.
This time, the election and the legislative ones that followed marked a generational changing of the guard. Jacques Chirac was leaving office at age seventy-four. Chirac had been a fixture in conservative circles since he first became a cabinet adviser in the early 1960s. His main left-wing opponent in his two presidential victories, Lionel Jospin, was only five years younger.
Both also represented the intellectual, political, and bureaucratic elite ...