Ségolène Royal, the left-wing finalist for the French presidency, appeared to acknowledge yesterday that she needed a near-miracle from a debate on Wednesday to save her from defeat next Sunday by the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. As opinion polls showed Mr Sarkozy maintaining a five-point lead over the 53-year-old Socialist, Ms Royal threw caution to the winds and said yesterday that she could appoint François Bayrou, the centrist who was eliminated on April 22, as her Prime Minister. Ms Royal needs most of Mr Bayrou’s seven million voters from the first round if she is to have a chance of defeating Mr Sarkozy, leader of the governing Union for a Popular Movement, on May 6.
On Saturday she held a friendly televised debate with the defeated candidate in which she appealed across party lines. She recognised the challenge facing her yesterday as Mr Sarkozy rallied 40,000 supporters in a show of strength at a Paris stadium. “It is difficult, because I think there have been 200 polls saying that Nicolas Sarkozy is going to win, but voters are free,” she said on Canal+ television. “He is going to have to accept debate and especially account for his past actions,” she added. The pair are to meet in their only debate of the campaign on Wednesday evening.
About 20 million people are expected to watch. French presidential debates, staged since 1974 in the days before the run-off, have a history of turning the tide.
So, there are currently two female politicians running for leadership of their countries that are captivating the attention of the world. Most people have heard of Hillary Clinton and her current run for the Democratic nomination for president in the US, but fewer are familiar with Segolene Royal, who is running for president in France. Both women would be the first female presidents of their respective countries if elected.
A google news search of Ms. Royal reveals just how compelled the world is by her run: there are articles from India to Australia, from South Africa to Seattle about her campaign. Everyone wants to know how she is doing, how she is being treated and received as a woman and what this means for women in politics worldwide.
As such there has been a lot of fascinating articles written about her and women in politics in general. For this reason, I propose Royal Watch – a feature here that will be following the rest of her run and the media and theorizing that attends it. Today’s offering? Its from Bulgaria:
Sounds interesting! I’m going to try to watch… if I find out how to do so – I will update that info here.