Roger L. Simon

Dominique Bacques Jacques

With Jacques Chirac hors de combat for a few weeks after his “transient ischemic attack” one of my personal favorites [Stop being sarcastic.-ed. Didn’t your grandmother tell you that was rude?] Dominique de Villepin will be standing in for the French president at next week’s United Nations meeting in New York. According to the Financial Times,

Mr de Villepin’s high-profile trip will enhance his standing as Mr Chirac’s preferred successor as president in 2007. Since being appointed prime minister in May, he has risen steadily in the opinion polls as his government focused on cutting unemployment.

One poll this week even indicated Mr de Villepin’s popularity rating had climbed above that of Nicolas Sarkozy, the populist president of the ruling UMP party and self-proclaimed standard bearer of the French right.