In a country such as France, where the political cleavage between the Left and the Right is ancient and profound, Nicolas Sarkozy's ouvertures [openings] towards Opposition personalities have surprised and disturbed many observers. His minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner, has even been labeled a traitor by some of his former Socialist friends. This merely means that the concept of a nonpartisan dimension in politics is not yet easily digestible in France.
A striking new case of Sarkozy's behavior has just emerged, since the president intends to propose and endorse the candidacy of the Socialist personality Dominique Strauss-Kahn for the post of president of the IMF [International Monetary Fund].
It will be difficult for the French Left to criticize either Sarkozy's decision or Strauss-Kahn's acceptance of the arrangement, since it's a matter of a prestigious international role, which is not linked to the everyday political situation in France.