Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 4489 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YI YM YE

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06PARIS5166, MICHEL ROCARD: DON'T RULE OUT A SURPRISE IN 2007

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06PARIS5166.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06PARIS5166 2006-07-31 13:01 2011-02-10 08:08 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
Appears in these articles:
http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/documents-wikileaks/article/2011/02/09/wikileaks-les-visiteurs-de-l-ambassade_1477418_1446239.htm
VZCZCXRO5811
OO RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #5166/01 2121344
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311344Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9945
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 005166 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/31/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PREL FR
SUBJECT: MICHEL ROCARD: DON'T RULE OUT A SURPRISE IN 2007 
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 

REF: 05 PARIS 7360 

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (C) SUMMARY: Amb. Stapleton met with Michel Rocard on 
July 19 (see reftel for report on previous meeting). Rocard, 
who supports Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the Socialist Party 
(PS) presidential nomination, appeared resigned to a Royal 
victory in the party primary. He regretted that neither she 
nor Nicolas Sarkozy, the current front-runners, have the 
requisite foreign policy experience for the job. Rocard also 
noted that although he believes the Fifth Republic has 
outlived its usefulness, no constitutional change is likely, 
given the array of problems facing France and the length of 
time it would take to debate and pass a new constitution. 
Finally, he voiced his well-known criticisms of his own PS, 
which still has not made the transition to a modern 
social-democratic party, missing yet another opportunity in 
June, when the party adopted its program. On Iraq, Rocard 
regretted errors by Chirac in handling the transatlantic 
relationship in the run-up to the war. Addressing the 
current situation, Rocard said the U.S. must not make an 
early exit from Iraq; a prolonged USG presence in Iraq will 
ultimately bring the U.S. and France together. END SUMMARY. 

2. (C) Michel Rocard, former prime minister under Mitterrand 
and current PS member of the European Parliament, offered 
views on the French political scene. Cautioning aginst too 
early a conclusion that either Segolene Royal or Nicolas 
Sarkozy will be elected president in 2007, Rocard cautioned 
that throughout the history of the Fifth Republic, candidates 
in the lead a year before the elections -- including Jacques 
Chaban-Delmas, Edouard Balladur, Raymond Barre, and himself 
-- have all failed to win the presidency. At the moment, "in 
the absence of other serious candidates, the least improbable 
scenario is a second-round contest between Royal and 
Sarkozy." However, he stressed, each election has produced a 
surprise, knocking out the front runner; it is the nature of 
a surprise that we don't know what that might be this time 
around. 

3. (C) Rocard reprised his view that Sarkozy advocates 
"detestable" policies, particularly in the area of human 
rights, where he represents a "danger." Despite his 
continuing support for Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the PS 
presidential nomination, Rocard appeared resigned to a Royal 
victory within the party, referring to her as if she were 
already the nominee. Describing her as until now having 
lived a "peaceful little existence without conflict" as a 
deputy from Poitou-Charente, he implied that she would not be 
up to the rigors of a presidential campaign. He further 
worried about her lack of knowledge of foreign affairs -- he 
cited specifically the Middle East and "delicate" U.S.-French 
relations in this regard -- and economics. That said, he 
admitted that she is "not stupid" and has good advisors. 

4. (C) Regarding the direction and reform of the PS, Rocard 
divulged that earlier that day, Royal had pulled him aside 
and told him she would like to see the PS head in a social 
democratic direction, along the lines of the socialist 
parties of Scandinavia. He conceded that she was saying what 
she knew he wanted to hear but surmised that she has some 
genuine interest in modernizing the party. 

5. (C) Recalling the PS's November convention, Rocard noted 
that 57 percent of the party members voted to support a 
motion that would have effectively moved the PS toward the 
social democratic model. Rocard strongly regretted that the 
PS leadership preferred unanimity over change, ending up with 
a kitchen-sink approach to its program, and a squandered 
opportunity for a change of identity for the last socialist 
party in western Europe to embrace social democracy. 

6. (C) Rocard also related his belief that the Fifth Republic 
has outlived its utility and that the constitution should be 
replaced with one that would diminish presidential power. He 
noted, however, that undertaking to revise the constitution 
would take two years, during which time nothing else would be 
accomplished in France. Political leaders would 
understandably consider the opportunity cost of such a 
project -- with an unknowable result -- too great. 
Furthermore, while constitutional reform may be of great 
interest fo the political elite, it has little resonance with 
public opinion. 

7. (C) Rocard reiterated previously stated views that Chirac 
had grievously overplayed his hand in the lead-up to the 2003 
intervention in Iraq and caused gratuitous harm to the 
Franco-American relationship. Rocard simultaneously 
criticized the USG for failing to appreciate French expertise 
on Arab cultures as well as France's own tragic experience in 

PARIS 00005166 002 OF 002 


triggering and confronting insurgencies in the Maghreb and 
elsewhere. He concluded the meeting by remarking insistently 
that the USG must not leave Iraq. He added that the longer 
that the USG stayed in Iraq, the closer France and America 
would grow. 

Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 

STAPLETON