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Thursday, 24 September 2009

And France's best-dressed male politician is...?

Oh come on. You know you're interested. After all isn't it the most compelling part of politics...the fluffy celebrity side of things?

Read on, and you'll find out (eventually) who the French think is their best-dressed male politician, which you have to admit makes a change from those endless polls ranking political figures by their popularity.

Actually that in itself seems to be something of a national pastime in France. At least the media would seem to have us believe it matters, with polls coming thick and fast on a monthly basis.

Mind you, it has been fairly quiet on that front recently - probably something to do with much of the country having been on holiday for the month of August.

For sure those polls have been published as frequently as ever, but they haven't really made the headlines lately apart from the odd mention that the former president, Jacques Chirac, is the nation's favourite political figure with a 76 per cent approval rating ahead of the ever-popular foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner (70 per cent) and his former underling, Rama Yade (67 per cent) who was junior minister for human rights until the position was scrapped in June's reshuffle and now finds herself "elevated" (heavy on the irony) to sport.

For his part the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has dropped a point to 47 per cent, but has nonetheless managed to climb a place in the overall listings from July to 27th place.

Anyway back to that "style" survey conducted for the monthly men's magazine Optimum by l’institut Isama and the results of which are prefaced with proof that clothes maketh the man.

"The image of the politicians depends first of all on their position, what they have to say and what they do," runs the introduction helpfully.

"But it's also based on indirect elements or factors that have little to to with politics such as the individual's appeal, way of expressing himself (yes we're talking just male politicians here) or what he wears. In other words 'style'."

There you go, confirmation if you will, that appearances do matter.

And the winner is - (drum roll please) - none other than Dominique de Villepin.

Does the name ring a bell? It should do. He was a foreign minister and then prime minister under Chirac and his is the name on everybody's lips here in France at the moment as he's one of the key players embroiled in the so-called "Clearstream affair".

In a nutshell, de Villepin is a defendant in a trial that has just got underway, and is charged with "plotting to discredit" Sarkozy when the two were ministers under Chirac.

It's a complicated case that has taken up more than a few column inches in newspapers and is pretty much the story coming out of France at the moment.

There's masses of stuff about it out on the Net and to go into detail about it here would rather spoil the flippant tone of this piece, so without further ado let's take a look at who else figures on the list behind the dashing de Villepin.

In second place is the former (Socialist) culture minister, Jack Lang with the name once again of Kouchner (another Socialist - of sorts) popping up in third. They're followed by the prime minister, François Fillon, the (Socialist) mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë and a former (Socialist) finance minister and wannabe president, Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is currently head honcho at the International Monetary Fund.

With four of the first six coming from the ranks of the Socialist party, you could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that if looks really counted for anything supporters of the party would choose one of them as the next presidential candidate in 2012 - even though two of them (Lang and Kouchner) currently at 70 years of age might be considered a bit long in the tooth by then.

So with de Villepin getting the thumbs up for style, what of the plaintiff in that Clearstream affair (sorry to have to return to that) and the man who would least likely be described as his best friend...Sarkozy?

After all the 54-year-old, all action French president is a keep fit fan (we see pictures of him jogging regularly) and he's married to a former clothes horse.

In fact some commentators have remarked on how sharp his dress sense has become since he and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy tied the knot.

Well Sarkozy scrapes into the top 10 - even though he surely won't be pleased once more to find himself behind his prime minister - with a rating of 5,32 and Isama pointing out in its summary that his style appeals to all age groups apart from the 18-24-year-olds, who rank him just 32nd.

There's a message there somewhere isn't there?

So that's the men done and dusted.

We now await with bated breath a similar poll for France's female politicians.

1 comment:

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