Royal sues over book alleging relationship woes

9th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 9, 2007 (AFP) - Defeated French presidential candidate Segolene Royal and her partner, Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande, are planning legal action over a book alleging their relationship is on the rocks, their lawyer said Wednesday.

PARIS, May 9, 2007 (AFP) - Defeated French presidential candidate Segolene Royal and her partner, Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande, are planning legal action over a book alleging their relationship is on the rocks, their lawyer said Wednesday.

Excerpts of the book "The Femme Fatale", written by two senior journalists at Le Monde newspaper, were published this week in the Nouvel Observateur magazine ahead of its general release on Friday.

Authors Raphaelle Bacque and Ariane Chemin write that the couple -- who are not married but have four children aged 14 to 22 -- violently fell out last year over Royal's decision to contest the French presidential race.

Quoting Socialist deputy Julien Dray, an old friend of the couple, the book says Royal accused Hollande of planning to block her path by calling on former prime minister Lionel Jospin to challenge her for the Socialist nomination.

"Segolene is holding a hand-grenade, primed to go off," Dray is quoted as saying. "She told him 'If you go looking for Jospin to try to stop me, you will never see your children again!'"

Jacques Michard, the couple's lawyer, issued a statement saying they had asked him to take legal action over the book for a "breach of their privacy rights, their honour and their reputation."

Hollande -- who as party chief had been seen as a possible president himself -- was eclipsed by his partner's rise, and had to swallow hard as her policy pronouncements often challenged party orthodoxy.

Most embarrassing was a moment when Royal's official spokesman described Hollande as "her most serious problem."

Royal's defeat to the right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy has left her party reeling, and raised a question mark over both her political future and that of the French left.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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