Female is favourite for Socialist presidential bid

9th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 8 (AFP) - Ségolène Royal, the 52 year-old president of the Poitou regional council and partner of Socialist leader François Hollande, is the clear front-runner to become the party's candidate in next year's French presidential election, according to two polls Sunday.

PARIS, Jan 8 (AFP) -  Ségolène Royal, the 52 year-old president of the Poitou regional council and partner of Socialist leader François Hollande, is the clear front-runner to become the party's candidate in next year's French presidential election, according to two polls Sunday.

Some 42 percent of the public want her as the Socialist contender in the May 2007 vote, as against 24 percent for former prime minister Lionel Jospin and 20 percent for former culture minister Jack Lang, a CSA poll for Le Parisien found.

Royal also easily topped the list with 48 percent when only Socialist Party (PS) supporters were consulted.

Meanwhile 53 percent of those questioned by an IFOP poll in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper said that she has the "stature to be a president of the republic", ahead of former finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn on 39 percent and Lang on 36 percent.

Hollande, who is nominally the senior PS member, had only 12 percent support in the first poll and 21 percent in the second.

Royal's growing popularity was confirmed by a third poll earlier in the week which for the first time placed her as the most popular political figure in the country, on both left and right.

Royal scored 49 percent in the Le Figaro magazine survey, surpassing the two most likely presidential candidates from the ruling UMP party, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin on 46 percent and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on 45 percent.

France's Socialists were badly divided over the referendum on an EU constitution last May, but papered over their differences at a party congress in November. They will designate their candidate for the elections at the end of this year.

Hollande said last week that he did not mind being eclipsed by his partner, who is the mother of their four children.

"I am not going to hold it against Ségolène because she is popular. She has assets which all the French can recognise: courage, sincerity and the capacity to govern," he said.

The daughter of a soldier, Royal was elected to the National Assembly in 1988. She was environment minister for less than a year in 1992, and later in the government of Lionel Jospin held only junior posts, in charge of teaching and then family affairs.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article