Mitterrand's daughter slams 'mad dog' Sarkozy

28th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - The daughter of France's late Socialist president Francois Mitterrand describes presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy as a "mad dog" who is drawn by extremism, in an interview published Wednesday.

PARIS, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - The daughter of France's late Socialist president Francois Mitterrand describes presidential frontrunner Nicolas Sarkozy as a "mad dog" who is drawn by extremism, in an interview published Wednesday.

"His lack of self-control, his mad dog side and the fact that he is tempted by extremism worry me," Mazarine Pingeot told the popular newspaper Parisien.

Pingeot, a 33-year-old writer whose relationship to her father was kept secret until she was in her late teens, said she planned to vote for Socialist candidate Segolene Royal.

"She was the obvious choice because she is the candidate of my party. But I also chose her for her independent spirit, the strength of her character, her perseverance and her balanced mood, her indifference to the rumour mill, to attacks and finally, her courage," said Pingeot.

Pingeot, whose father was in office from 1981 to 1995 has kept a low-profile in the campaign for the election, taking place on April 22 and May 6. Mitterrand died in 1996.

Le Parisien said she had joined the Socialist Party only a few months ago.

Pingeot, whose mother Anne was Mitterrand's mistress, said recurrent questions about whether Royal is competent to hold the republic's top post reflected "a macho undercurrent" in France.

"There is a suggestion that a woman must prove that she is able to lead.  For a man, it is a given that he will be called upon to exercise power, or that power comes naturally to him."

Pingeot described Sarkozy's proposal to create a ministry of immigration and national identity as "shameful and shocking".

Sarkozy has been harshly criticised by leftist politicians who accuse the candidate of the governing rightwing party of suggesting that immigrants should be indoctrinated on how to be French.

Pingeot also said it would be "absurd" for voters sympathetic to the left to cast their ballots for centrist Francois Bayrou, whose popularity rating seems to have stalled in the polls in the number three spot.

She raised the possibility of a repeat of the 2002 election, when far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen won more votes than Socialist Lionel Jospin in the first round of voting and went on to challenge Jacques Chirac in the runoff.

Socialist leaders have urged left-wing voters to cast their ballot for Royal in the first round to avoid a split in the vote that would allow a candidate from the right to slip through.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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