Seanachie's old friend Nicolas Sarkozy takes the reins of the Fifth Republic today and has continued in his conciliatory mode by naming Socialist and founder of Médecins sans frontières Bernard Kouchner as Minister for Foreign Affairs, something that is not as shocking as it sounds, given that Kouchner had called for a pre-election pact between the Socialists and François Bayrou's UDF before the election and Kouchner has also supported the war in Iraq, one of the few high-profile French politicians to have done so. Many of Kouchner's former comrades have reacted with derision to his acceptance of a post from a political opposite such as Sarkozy: his MSF co-founder Rony Brauman snorted that 'we have all known for a long time that Kouchner has dreamt of being Minister for Foreign Affairs'. But we have all known too that the two men have not seen eye to eye for a long time. It appears that Kouchner is too much of an Atlanticist for the tastes of many on the French Left but this may be part of a tacit deal with the Left on Sarkozy's part: he will temper his pro-Americanism by using one of theirs in the Quai d'Orsay and he will be free to implement his own domestic policy, which is likely to be of more lasting significance.
There is a further controversy involving Sarko and his friends too. It is well known that his wife Cécilia despises him (what the dogs on the French street don't know isn't worth knowing, as Steve Staunton might say) and she surprisingly reappeared after a few month's absence at the post-election party, albeit looking about as happy to be there as Ian Paisley at the All-Ireland final. Sarkozy's mate Arnaud Lagardère, heir to the Lagardère group - one of France's biggest media groups - had previously sacked Paris Match editor Alain Genestar for publishing photographs of Cécilia with Richard Attias, the man she was cuckolding the new pint-sized President with. Sarkozy's buddy pitched in again this weekend by censoring a report in Le Journal du dimanche which revealed that Sarkozy's nearest and dearest couldn't move herself to vote in the second round of the Presidential elections. No love lost there. But you'll always have your friends, Nico.