Monday, February 19, 2007

Battle Royal

The Socialist candidate for the French presidency, Segolene Royal, is shaking up her team to try to put her faltering campaign back on the rails. She burst onto the world political stage last summer when photos of her in a bikini (she's 53) turned up in the celeb mags. Then she easily beat several Socialist heavyweights to win her party's nomination in November, and seemed set for a close battle for the top job against the centre-right candidate, current interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

But since then it's all gone wrong. Her relative lack of experience has been exposed by a series of gaffes. Most bizarrely, she said on a trip to China that the local justice system was "faster" than the one in France (no doubt something to do with all those executions). Politically, she's been forced to move back to the left to head off criticism from those within her own party, angry at her admiration for Tony Blair's 'Third Way' and her controversial idea for military-style boot camps for young offenders. While this may keep the Socialists sweet, their candidate Lionel Jospin's humiliating failure to finish ahead of the National Front's Jean Marie Le Pen five years ago suggests it's not the way to win the election.

There's still more than two months to go until the first round of voting. But after weeks of showing her personal weaknesses, no amount of changing her campaign team is going to save Ms Royal from the biggest obstacle to her becoming President. Herself.

1 comment:

Boz said...

I would argue that the French would elect "Royal herself", because her personality and ability to reassure far surpasses Nicolas Sarkozy. Her statements (as you mentioned) and uninspiring presidential platform are likely the real culprit.
French Election 2007