RoyalExcellent news – Segolene Royal has won the vote in the French Socialist Party to become their candidate for the Presidential elections in the spring of 2007. Stories from EUObserver and BBC. She won a resounding 60.62% of the vote with Dominique Strauss-Kahn on 20.83% and former prime minister Laurent Fabius on 18.54%.

This really shows that the PS has rejected its more loony tendencies (for now) and having selected the dynamic, pragmatic candidate, give themselves a real chance of managing to win the Presidency against a challenge almost certain to come from Nicolas Sarkozy. I’m not sure I necessarily like all of what Royal stands for, but she is without doubt the best bet. Further, with Merkel in Germany and the possibility of a female President in France, the dynamics of EU politics will be radically different – a real end to the Franco-German macho approach.

The Labour Movement for Europe will be following developments closely, and we’ll also try to organise a visit to France for Labour Party members to see what’s going on.

2 Comments

  1. I too think this is excellent news.

  2. Hmmm… Can’t quite bring myself to get as excited as you. I’m surprised you can identify what she stands for enough to disagree with it (unless boot camp for young offenders counts as a serious policy) and she’s distinctly vague on foreign policy in general and Europe in particular (e.g. her line on Turkey “my policy will be the policy of the people” – I could go on). It’s not often I agree with former PM Raffarin who argued in Les Echos (http://www.lesechos.fr/chats/script_raffarin.html) that her supporters are set on a course of ‘seduction-illusion-disappointment’. I think because she’s promised so little thus far people have been able to project all sorts of hopes and expectations on to her – a la David Cameron, perhaps? – that she will struggle to fulfil. I think it’s a great pity the socialist primary didn’t go to a second round where she might really have had to put some ideas on the table to win over the ex-Fabiusiens, for example. And the idea that she breaks the mould of French politicians is a myth – she’s not much younger than average (only 3 years younger than DSK, for example) – and she was at ENA at the same time as de Villepin and Raffarin, amongst others. Although, granted, being an active parent does make a difference. But thus far it’s not been so much about ‘rupture’ as about lowest common denominator politics – a cheap populism designed to win over the TV audiences. But… but maybe the policies will come as she gears up for the election. And she is probably the only person who can give Sarkozy a run for his money, although I personally don’t fancy her chances unless the Right splits between now and April (which it made do). And incidentally, since when did being a woman make politicians less likely to be ‘macho’ in Europe? I don’t seem to remember that being the case when last there was a woman in charge in the UK…

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