Blair's campaigning was model for Royal

18th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, April 18, 2007 (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair's campaign strategy was the basis for French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal's run for the Elysee Palace, her domestic partner Francois Hollande said in an interview published on Wednesday.

LONDON, April 18, 2007 (AFP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair's campaign strategy was the basis for French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal's run for the Elysee Palace, her domestic partner Francois Hollande said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Speaking to The Times from the eastern French city of Lyon, Hollande, who is also the head of Royal's Socialist Party (PS), added that at times he purposely distanced himself from her campaign, which he said was for her benefit.

"Blair showed how you do it," Hollande told the daily, referring to Blair's 'Third Way' model.

"First you impose your issues and then you take over the issues of the other side. It's simple."

Hollande and Royal have carried on a longterm relationship that dates back to their studies at an elite political campus in Paris. They have four children together but never married.

But Hollande has at times seemed distant from Royal as she hit the campaign trail -- after she officially put her name forward for the Socialist candidacy in September, for example, though Hollande bowed out, he refused to explicitly endorse her in the immediate aftermath.

"I didn't want to give the impression that she was under the control of the chief," Hollande said.

"It was best to let her run her campaign some distance from the party."

Hollande backed Royal to beat right-wing rival Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that if Royal "reaches the second round, everyone will look at her differently."

The first round of presidential voting in France is set for April 22, with the second round due next month.

"She will have survived trial by fire and be seen as a winner. That is what charisma is about ... She will show that she is peaceful and in harmony with the nation while Sarkozy generates worry and anguish."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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