Royal seeks thousands in damages over book

31st May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 31, 2007 (AFP) - France's defeated presidential candidate Segolene Royal is seeking thousands in damages over a book claiming her personal relationship is in "crisis" and she underwent plastic surgery, a source close to the matter told AFP Thursday.

PARIS, May 31, 2007 (AFP) - France's defeated presidential candidate Segolene Royal is seeking thousands in damages over a book claiming her personal relationship is in "crisis" and she underwent plastic surgery, a source close to the matter told AFP Thursday.

Royal and the father of her four children, Socialist party leader Francois Hollande, are jointly suing the two Le Monde journalists behind the book, titled "The Femme Fatale", and their publisher for 150,000 euros (200,000 dollars) for violation of privacy and libel.

A trial could begin within months, following legal notification handed to the defendants Wednesday.

Royal lost her bid to become France's first woman president when right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy thrashed her in a May 6 run-off vote.

In the book, authors Raphaelle Bacque and Ariane Chemin claim that Royal and Holland -- who are not married -- violently fell out last year over Royal's candidacy.

It quotes Socialist MP Julien Dray, an old friend of the couple, saying Hollande threatened to call in former prime minister Lionel Jospin to challenge her for the party nomination.

"She told him 'If you go looking for Jospin to try to stop me, you will never see your children again!'," Dray was quoted as saying.

The suit also focuses on allegations in the book that Royal underwent cosmetic surgery in 2005 to realign her teeth and reshape her chin, and that Royal was jealous over Hollande's contact with a "pretty, blonde" journalist.

Chemin said Thursday the book's references to the alleged Royal-Hollande dispute were valid because they involved the campaign for the presidency.

"We wanted to provide a full political narrative of the campaign, which had seemed very opaque to us," she said.

"In putting together that account, we noticed that there were political divergences between Segolene Royal and Francois Hollande that overlapped with a private conflict."

Royal is seeking 30,000 euros and Hollande 50,000 euros for invasion of privacy. The remaining 70,000 euros is being claimed for alleged libel against Royal.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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