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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet launches la France Droite

Does France need yet another political party?

Well the former environment and ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (NKM) seems to think so.

On Wednesday she launched "La France Droite" - not a party as such but a "movement" as it will exist withing the centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP) party.

Yes this is French politics - never straightforward at the best of times.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet explaining the reasons behind the creation of La France Droite (screenshot from radio interview in July 2012)

Of course it's not just NKM's reaction to the "cock-fight" going on at the moment to become president of the opposition UMP (remember she was forced to withdraw from the race because she couldn't get enough signatures to stand) which will be decided this weekend.

Instead it is in her words - or rather those of the official site, which are surely one and the same thing - an attempt to "lay claim to Gaullist values and those of independence, resistance and national identity."

Say what?

Well in short it's obviously a platform for NKM to stamp her mark and make a potential run for either mayor of Paris in 2014 (although she hotly denies it) or for the French presidency.

But it's also NKM very clearly reasserting her belief that under no circumstances should the UMP enter into an alliance with the far-right Front National.

There is of course the usual political fudge in the new party's stated raison d'être.

NKM clearly has a lot of praise for her former boss Nicolas Sarkozy and says as much on La France Droite's site in that the party, "draws inspiration from the way in which Nicolas Sarkozy managed to unite French tradition and modernity with the reforms required in Europe and the world, to the 21st century."

But Sarkozy was also the man who fought (and lost) the last presidential election on a platform which clearly went after the far-right voters.

And NKM was his campaign spokesperson, surely biting her tongue on occasions but also paying the price for her outspokenness against the Front National in calling it "poisonous" and "anti-republican" by finding herself challenged by one of its candidates during the parliamentary elections.

Then there is NKM's refusal to state openly who she supports in this weekend's election by UMP members for a leader.

Politically, she's far closer to François Fillon and she openly criticises the shift to the right that many think might occur under Jean-François Copé.

But she doesn't want to get involved in the spat, instead preferring to present herself we go again...a "unifying force" for supporters of Copé, Fillon and even Jean-Louis Borloo, who quit the UMP in protest over Sarkozy's rightward swing and took his Parti Radical (Radical party) into yet another newly-created party (with himself at the helm) L'Union des démocrates et indépendants, (Union for Democrats and Independents, UDI).

Anyway, here's wishing NKM well.

Even if you're not a fan of either her or her politics, it's surely good to see another woman (unless it happens to be Marine Le Pen) trying to make it, in what is primarily a world of stuffed shirts and ties.

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