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France’s Little Big Man

PARIS – National stereotypes do not fade easily, especially if those with the greatest influence seem to be doing their best to justify them. Consider the case of France. To outsiders, the land of Molière is a country where political leaders’ extramarital relationships are tolerated, while badly needed economic reforms are not.

But the world could be in for a surprise – or at least half a surprise. When it comes to politicians’ liaisons, continuity may prevail in France; but on the issue of reform, change may be around the corner.