Deal with rival boosts Royal's presidential bid

11th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 10, 2006 (AFP) - Ségolène Royal's chances of becoming France's first woman president improved Sunday when a left-wing rival struck a deal with her to give up his own bid for head of state.

PARIS, Dec 10, 2006 (AFP) - Ségolène Royal's chances of becoming France's first woman president improved Sunday when a left-wing rival struck a deal with her to give up his own bid for head of state.

Jean-Pierre Chevènement, a former interior minister, told his eurosceptic Republican and Citizens' Movement (MRC) party that he was withdrawing his announced presidential candidacy.

He made the announcement under an agreement with Royal's Socialist Party which would see MRC candidates supported by the Socialists in 10 electorates, according to a copy obtained by AFP.

"Nobody was forcing me to be a candidate. Nobody forced me to withdraw my candidacy," Chevenement said.

"I do so of my own will to open the way for a positive outcome in the first round" of the presidential elections, he said.

Divisions on the left that dissipated voters' ballots resulted in the Socialist candidate in the 2002 presidential elections, then prime minister Lionel Jospin, being defeated by far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Incumbent conservative President Jacques Chirac then went on to be re-elected by a landslide, backed by thousands of disenfranchised Socialist voters ferociously opposed to Le Pen.

Delegates from Chevenement's party on Sunday voted to back Royal in the next elections due in April and May.

A high-ranking party member, Patrick Trannoy, said the agreement struck allowed the two movements "to define a legislative programme that will constitute a lasting alternative to the right's policies."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article