It was, in other words, the legacy of a man who was deeply conservative, almost Brezhnevite in his view of the world - so much so that the word most often used to describe his political beliefs is "stagnation." But as he leaves office, the loudest condemnation of his twelve years as head of state comes not from the outside world, but from the French themselves. Don't listen to me, listen to them: After all, it is they who have just elected a man who promised to "break with the ideas, the habits and the behavior of the past."
"The French people have chosen change," Sarkozy declared during his acceptance speech Sunday night. "I will implement that change." And what they want, it seems, is a change from Chirac.