Thursday, November 16, 2006

French Royalists show up in force

Bored with American politics or just need some good electioneering to get your political buzz on? The coming French election may prove interesting. A female socialist is the leading leftist candidate to be the next French president.

Ségolène Royal's battle to become the first woman president of France begins in earnest today, after the Socialist party last night overwhelmingly endorsed her as their candidate in next April's election.

The "madonna of the opinion polls", whose personal battle against a domineering military colonel father and the perceived sexism of her party's old guard has fascinated France even more than her policies, secured a decisive victory after a rancorous US-style primary....

A former education and family minister who once advised François Mitterrand, and best known for introducing paternity leave to France, she is a self-styled outsider. She has surprised the Socialist old school by side-stepping the party machine, using the internet to build up a support base and appealing directly to the public by promising to break with France's unpopular, aloof political elite.

Her supporters, known as "royalistes", say she is the the most popular figure of the left among the public and the only one able to beat likely centre-right candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, the interior minister, to the presidency. A poll published yesterday in Le Point showed she would be neck and neck with him in the final round.|Guardian|
Sarkozy is a charming fellow who has obviously been paying attention to Rove's strategies of using fear and racism to drive the electorate farther to the right.

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