France's Royal talks of 'terrible ordeals' in election campaign
Segolene Royal said Sunday she had endured "terrible ordeals" during her bid last year to become France's first woman president, but added she did not hold a grudge
PARIS, January 27, 2008 - Socialist Segolene Royal said Sunday she had
endured "terrible ordeals" during her bid last year to become France's first
woman president, but added she did not hold a grudge.
Royal also spoke candidly in a television interview about her struggle with
revelations that her partner of 25 years, Francois Hollande, who is also
Socialist Party leader, was having an affair.
"I discovered that I was a more resourceful person than I ever imagined,"
Royal said in the interview on France 2 television, describing "terrible
ordeals within my own camp and in facing my opponent."
"There were atrocious ordeals," she added of her hard-fought campaign
against Nicolas Sarkozy, during which she came under attack from party
heavyweights who questioned whether she had the gravitas to become president.
"As unbelievable as it may seem, I do not hold anything against them," she
said of her fellow Socialists.
Royal, 54, earlier this month confirmed she intends to run for the
leadership of her Socialist Party, laying the groundwork for a possible
presidential bid in 2012.
Hollande, who is the father of her four children, has confirmed he will
step down as first secretary of the main opposition party later this year.
But already several senior Socialists including former prime minister
Michel Rocard have come out against Royal, arguing that giving her another
chance at the presidency would result in "certain defeat" for the left.
A first test of her staying power is expected to come in the March
municipal elections, which the Socialists are portraying as a referendum on
Sarkozy's first months as president.
Asked about her split from Hollande, Royal said, "Yes, it was hard."
"It's true that to be cheated on and for it to last as long as it did is
extremely difficult. I tried to cope because I wanted to protect my children
and I wanted to protect the French people," she said.
The split was announced after the parliamentary elections in June, months
after Royal said she had asked Hollande to leave and told him he was free to
pursue his love affair.
"I wish Francois every happiness with his new companion," she added.
"I dealt with it. I am liberated from all that. I have no bitterness, no
spite. My children are still standing. I'm still standing. Francois is still
"Today, the scare has healed," she added.