Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party is expected to take heavy losses at regional polls on Sunday signalling the French President’s luck may have run out since his post-crash popularity. “Fears about job losses, immigration and security, as well as resentment about issues such as bank bailouts and executive pay have all dented Sarkozy’s popularity, which has fallen since he won approval for his handling of the financial crisis in 2008. Sarkozy also needs to check France’s public deficit, which is expected to reach 8.2 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010, something which could be more difficult if serious electoral losses undermine public support for change in the euro zone’s second biggest economy. The powerful CGT union has already called for a day of protest over wages and pensions on Tuesday. Other groups, such as farmers, may also see a big defeat for the centre-right as an opportunity to put pressure on the government. There has also been increasingly open criticism of the leadership from within the UMP, where some well-known party figures including Alain Juppe, the former prime minister, are calling for a change of course.”
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