The candidates for the French Presidency are out. On first impressions you have the charmy Ms Segoline Royal, the charmer, a mother of four and willing to listen to all parties concerned. On the other hand you have Mr Nikolas Sarkozy, the right wing, anti immigration anti this anti that. These are tumultous times for France, the country is questioning its role in the post-imperilast globalized world. They need their sphere of influence, which is achieved through continuous back-channel diplomacy. In fact if any conflict-country wants to talk, France would be the best bet to start off among all the Western nations. Be it through the support of former French colonies, understanding of Russia and China or even consideration of the Iran issue. France is sometimes as being perceived as being away from 'Isreal' centre. Their need for influence in EU and world makes the country an important piece in the world sphere.
The country itself might be going to the dogs, rationalization of govt held companies, social security, racial tensions (they have large immigrant populations) primary among immigrants among different cultures and the French need to be different all make the elections in France an important milestone in Global Politics. Sarkozy has the experience and the guts(the fact that he is still there after taking Chirac on for the best part of a decade is testimony) , while Royal has the charm to make the average guy feel secure.
Let the games begin.