France has been gripped by a serious case of political stagnation, and the recent election between two bright young things—Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal—has smashed it out of its stupor, William Pfaff reflects in the New York Review of Books.
France's real problem was an aging set of political leaders, too deep in collusion with one another. But the election invigorated France. 3.3 million new people registered to vote. A third of the population watched Sarko and Ségo’s feisty debate. Now the French have elected an à la mode candidate who breaks the mold—and, Pfaff says, it’s emerging from the ennui that gripped it.