Thursday, November 27, 2008
War Of The Roses
It's been a while since I've tried to post regarding French Politics. So much happens, yet nothing really happens. Last year, there was a presidential election and of Nicolas Sarkozy won. The Socialist Party immediately responded by falling into total disarray for many reasons.
Part of Sarkozy's strategy was to reach out to disaffected members of the Socialist Party and bring them into his goverment. Bernard Kuchner became Minister of Foreign Affairs.
It was a strange defeat for the Socialists. In reality, Segolene Royale was a very popular candidate and if elected would have governed from a centrist position, continuing the legacy of Francois Mitterand, her mentor. In the end, she lost by 3 percent.
Many people felt she could have won if the Socialists could only have united behind her. Instead, there was a power struggle going on between the old and the new guard.
She was constantly sabotaged from with in.
Her relationship with Francois Hollande, the Party Secretary was deteriorating. They had lived together and had a few children together, but Francois felt cheated by his companions rising star and the charisma that he lacked...The Party Secretary normally would have been the presidential candidate, but Royale's popularity assured her the candidacy.
Hollande's term of Secretary of the Party is coming to an end, so ther was an election in the Socialist party for the new leader. There were 4 main candidates, Martine Aubry, the mayor of Lille, Bertrand Delanoe, the Mayor of Paris, Benoit Hamon, the youngest and most far left and Segolene Royale.
Of the four, Segolene had the majority of supporters, but the old guard of the party, inspired by the machinations of Hollande were united against her. Delanoe dropped out of the race and told his supporters to support Aubry. There was the first round of voting and Segolene came out ahead of Hamon and Aubry...Hamon was the real loser and he told his supporters to vote for Aubry.
It seemed that Aubry really had a personal dislike for Segolene. It was historic, two women were competing for a position that had never been occupied by a woman before, but one represented a real chance to break with the image that the Socialists couldn't lead and the other was a last ditch attempt by the entrenched "elephants" of the Party to hold onto their power.
In the vote last week end, Aubry won by a disputed 40 some votes! France was experiencing it's own Miami sur le Seine! A real vote counting scandal with charges of tampering flying back and forth. Segolene still commanded almost half of the votes against a united front of her opponents.
Yesterday seemed to mark a truce as the two women met. The party will survive inspite of all the strife, but instead of relegating Royale to obscurity, the events have only set the stage for her star to shine even brighter. In her fight to change the Socialist party she has proven herself to be a canny politician and brawler and still remain a class act..