Royal slammed as glory-hunter in book

16th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - Segolene Royal, socialist challenger for the French presidency, is described as a glory-hunting populist in a damning new book by the Socialist Party's former economics chief, who resigned last month in a row over her campaign.


PARIS, March 16, 2007 (AFP) - Segolene Royal, socialist challenger for the French presidency, is described as a glory-hunting populist in a damning new book by the Socialist Party's former economics chief, who resigned last month in a row over her campaign.

"In all conscience I do not think that Segolene Royal should become president of the Republic. I do not wish it for my country. I fear it for my children," Besson writes in "Who knows Madame Royal?" which goes on sale next week.

Extracts have been published in the press and on the Internet.

"I shall not vote for her in either the first or the second round of the election -- unless of course she is facing (far-right leader) Jean-Marie Le Pen. If she wins, France will be on a dangerous slope," Besson writes.

Besson, 48, resigned from Royal's campaign on February 14, angry that his advice over costing her manifesto pledges was being ignored. A week later he announced his resignation from the PS.

The title of his book is an ironic reference to Royal's comment when asked about his resignation -- "Who knows Eric Besson?".

"She has an ultra-personal conception of power, totally uncontrolled. Her only motive is personal glory. She uses and abuses demagoguery," Besson says. "We are in France -- not in Latin America -- even if the resemblances are disturbing."

In a reference to Royal's visit to China in January -- when she said there were positive aspects to the Chinese justice system -- Besson writes: "The lack of control over her comments is the sign of pretty serious incompetence."

And on the reasons for his resignation: "Never has a left-wing presidential programme been invented with such imprecision and in such secrecy. My task, and the party's, was not to construct but to hide this reality."

Royal, 53, has slipped badly in the polls since January, but still stands in second place in the multi-candidate first round of the vote on April 22. The top two contenders qualify for a run-off on May 6.

Earlier this week former education minister Claude Allegre, who worked alongside Royal in the last socialist government, also said he will not vote for her in the election -- citing her lack of support for nuclear energy, GM crops and stem cell research.

"No, I shall not vote for Segolene Royal. My personal convictions as a scientist are stronger than any other consideration," he said in a radio interview Tuesday.

In a just-published book, Allegre described "the formidable over-development of this woman's ego."

He said Royal was "lofty and distant with her colleagues and staff ... Her ambition is pulsating, all-consuming and she never gives up in the face of an obstacle. She has a determination of iron."

According to Allegre, "she has no political structuring and no desire to have any. But she has a certain political intuition and a sense of communication which she has been cultivating for 20 years."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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