A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

First Contacts with Hollande Camp: Merkel Braces for Possible Sarkozy Election Defeat – SPIEGEL ONLINE

In Economy, News, Politics on March 30, 2012 at 13:29

Will Merkozy have to break up, thanks to Hollande?

First Contacts with Hollande Camp: Merkel Braces for Possible Sarkozy Election Defeat 

For weeks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy fell hopelessly behind in polls against his Socialist Party opponent François Hollande, but in recent days he has narrowed the gap. Current polls show that Sarkozy might even manage to narrowly beat Hollande in the first round of voting on April 22. But in the run-off ballot on May 6, Hollande is still expected to win.

That means that France’s future president could well be Hollande, a possibility for which the country’s neighbors must begin making preparations. And that includes in Berlin, where the Chancellery has begun forging tentative ties with Hollande’s camp.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel still hopes Sarkozy will ultimately win, having found in him a dependable ally, despite their personality differences. Particularly during the euro crisis, she and Sarkozy have stood side by side, most recently in advocating Merkel’s pet project, the European fiscal pact, which obliges the 25 EU member states who have signed up to pursue greater budget discipline.

Meanwhile, Sarkozy’s challenger Hollande has already announced that as president he would immediately try to renegotiate parts of the fiscal pact. From Merkel’s perspective, that would be fatal, as it could destabilize the complete financial architecture of the new European Union.

But her hands are tied. The Chancellery seems to have resigned itself to accepting Hollande as the French leader, if necessary. The important Berlin-Paris alliance must continue to function.

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