French Socialist leader strikes back following Royal pique
Francois Hollande fired back at his former partner SegolenePARIS, December 5 2007 - France's Socialist leader Francois Hollande fired back Wednesday at his former partner Segolene Royal, who in a new book accuses the party of sabotaging her presidential election bid, saying she had only herself to blame.
Royal, 54, who was defeated by Nicolas Sarkozy in the May presidential race, returned to the political fray with the publication Tuesday of a tell-all book, accusing Hollande and other Socialist heavyweights of betraying
"There is no point trying to find blame with other people. It is better to look at what one might have done better, based on the role and the place one held," Hollande told reporters.
In her election memoir entitled "My Greatest Story Is You", Royal attacks senior party colleagues who "had sworn to crush" her, and says she got no support from Hollande, the father of her four children.
She also says her score of 17 million votes was only two million behind Sarkozy's tally, and forms a solid base for the future. Her defeat was a "missed opportunity but a promise of victory," she writes.
Royal promises in the book to make a new bid for high office and has positioned herself as a potential future leader of the party, which is to choose a successor to Hollande next year.
But in another apparent swipe at his ex-companion, Hollande warned would-be successors to hold their horses until after the March municipal elections.
The Socialist party was thrown into disarray by Sarkozy's victory, its third consecutive presidential election defeat, and disarmed by Sarkozy's strategy of inviting centrist and left-wing figures into his government.
But while she is contested by party rivals, Royal remains popular with left-wing voters, 71 percent of whom would like her to run again for president in 2012.