Monsieur Irrelevant

According to a poll conducted by CSA Polling Institute for Le Parisien newspaper (as reported by The Washington Times), 72 percent of the French consider President Jacques Chirac’s influence over what happens in France to be “weak.” Two-thirds characterize his clout on the world stage the same way. And even with respect to European politics, only 36 percent find his influence to be significant.

Chirac’s standing with French voters is not terribly important in itself, since he will not be a candidate for president in 2007. On the other hand, the low regard in which voters hold Chirac may work against his hand-picked successor, the anti-American Dominique de Villepin, although some suggest that the latter’s stature has risen simply by comparison to Chirac.