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June 19, 2006
The New French Right?

Sabine Herold, acclaimed by French libertarians as a harbinger of the policies that would rescue France from itself, has announced her intent to run for the National Assembly. Herold will run for office in an upscale Paris district where a center-Right member of Jacques Chirac's coalition currently serves -- a message that Herold might eye a higher office soon:

Sabine Hérold, who sprang to fame when she led a protest movement against French workers' readiness to go on strike, now hopes to exploit growing disillusionment with her country's political elite by winning a seat in parliament.

Miss Hérold, 25, who regards her French media nickname - Mlle Thatcher - as a compliment, also refuses to rule out standing as a candidate to replace Jacques Chirac as president next year.

Miss Hérold, a prominent figure in the new Liberal Alternative Party, told The Daily Telegraph last night that her aim was to restore French people's confidence in their country and society.

"I don't see myself as being of the Right," she insisted from Turkey, where she is on holiday. "Our concept of liberalism doesn't translate easily into English, but essentially means giving individuals the freedom and responsibility to make their own decisions in all areas of life." Miss Hérold found herself addressing crowds of up to 80,000 three years ago when she became the spearhead of a campaign against crippling anti-government strikes by public sector workers.

Herold had operated more quietly since the heady days of 2003, when her star rose on the backlash of those strikes. Her candidacy for office had been the subject of much anticipation, and her decision to run will certainly gain enough publicity to put her opponents at some disadvantage. Young, attractive, intelligent, Herold also has a unique political point of view that may well resonate with disenchanted Parisians who have watched their country fail economically and politically over the past several decades.

Her nickname appears well-earned. Like Margaret Thatcher, she has diagnosed her nation's domestic ills to overzealous state control of the economy and paralysis through trade-union control of the government. Even three years ago, Herold transfixed political observers. After the riots this year in France, more voters may well be inclined to agree that the hidebound controls over French economics must be broken before France can fix itself. Thatcher's experience might be the best analogy to the current French situation, and her solution would appear to apply even more now than it did then, when Britain faced a milder economic problem in comparison.

Will the French change overnight? Of course not. However, if Herold can find her way into the National Assembly, she can serve as a beacon for the sanity of open markets and laissez-faire regulation as the only means to generate the new investment needed to rescue the French economy. At the least, Herold will provide some political fireworks in a nation that sorely needs a positive debate instead of riots and walkouts to set their policies.

UPDATE: Occidentality is not as sanguine about Sabine as I am, and Joel Shepherd interviewed Herold for an article last year. Be sure to read both posts.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 19, 2006 8:41 AM

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I have no quarrel with his opinion regarding 'the least' that Herold's candidacy means; no doubt her election can only improve the dismal state of French politics. [Read More]

Tracked on June 19, 2006 10:48 AM


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