Most countries make do with just one head of government. But in France these days, there appear to be three.
The titular head, of course, is Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the country’s rumpled and amiable prime minister, whose popularity ratings took a battering over the past year. Then there is President Jacques Chirac, the canny 71-year-old survivor of France’s turbulent political currents, who is taking an increasing interest in the day-to-day running of the state.
But prominently center stage stands presidential wannabe Nicolas Sarkozy, the country’s cocky, popular interior minister, who has made no secret about his ambitions to take over Chirac’s job in the 2007 elections.0