Nicolas Sarkozy has been nominated as the presidential candidate for France’s ruling “Union pour un Mouvement Populaire”. As the only person to put himself forward, Sarkozy’s selection at a special congress in Paris was a formality – and in the end more than two thirds of the party membership confirmed the nomination in a vote via internet. “I’ve got no right to disappoint you,” he said in an acceptance speech that lasted more than hour. “I’ve not got the right to hesitate, because I’ve no right to fail. I must win, I must win for France.”
Sarkozy said Turkey’s place was not within the European Union, but that a special partnership should be negotiated. To get the continent’s institutions working he reiterated his proposition of a mini-constitution. “I want to be the president of a France that says to Europeans, we want Europe because our old nations carry no weight in a globalized world,” he said. “But I want to be president of a France that says instead of resuscitating the European constitution, the urgent need is for a simplified treaty that can be adopted not by parliamentary vote buy by referendum.”
The wide ranging speech created a vision of France in which the values of work and reward for merit were to be paramount – he promised a top tax rate of no more than 50 per cent. If the performance lacked Sarkozy’s traditional punch – he explained he needed now to be a candidate for the entire French nation, and not just his own supporters.