On May 6, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidential election, defeating socialist Segolene Royal and taking over from Jacques Chirac, who had held the positon for 12 years. The election drew a very high 85% turnout, which many saw as a sign that French voters recognize the need to get out from under their economic stagnation and social unrest. Sarkozy is depicted as a friend, but also a critic, of the U.S.; as a supporter, to some degree, of the European Union; and as a reformer bent on changing France’s burdensome labor laws, but also willing to meet with union leaders. Knowledge at Wharton asked Jeff Weintraub, a visiting scholar with the University of Pennsylvania’s political science department, to give us his views on the possible consequences of Sarkozy’s election.

To read the view from Europe, go to our coverage from Universia Knowledge at Wharton.

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