Royal's plan draws cheers and jeers from Europe

12th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 12, 2007 (AFP) - Segolene Royal's 100-point platform for the French presidency was hailed by most left-wing European newspapers Monday as a bold, hands-on manifesto, but dismissed on the right as a lurch back to old-fashioned Socialist dogma.

PARIS, Feb 12, 2007 (AFP) - Segolene Royal's 100-point platform for the French presidency was hailed by most left-wing European newspapers Monday as a bold, hands-on manifesto, but dismissed on the right as a lurch back to old-fashioned Socialist dogma.

"Following weeks of setbacks, the Socialist candidate has given a new boost to her campaign, sweeping aside all doubts about the strength of her presidential candidacy," enthused Spain's left-leaning El Pais.

"With a well-built speech, full of interesting ideas, she set the stage for a close fight" with her right-wing rival Nicolas Sarkozy, it wrote, predicting that her "clear shift to the left" would win back doubters within her own camp.

"Segolene is back in the game" agreed Italy's left-wing La Repubblica, saying she had "reconquered the left" by "proving she has a political vision", and had "staked out the borders" in the battle against Sarkozy.

For Italy's left-leaning Corriere della Sera, Royal "announced a few social measures ... without diluting her modern, reformist project inspired by the social-democracies of northern Europe: flexibility, life-long training, research, innovation, ecology."

"An iron fist in a red glove," headlined the Belgian daily Le Soir, praising a speech "as good as a Davis Cup final" -- though an editorial asked how the candidate planned to fund her social measures and balance the state books.

Royal's heavy emphasis on social measures -- from a promise to raise the minimum wage and small pensions, to a new "living allowance" for young people in financial difficulty -- also raised some eyebrows on the British left.

For the Independent, her speech was "a standard, left-of-centre litany of proposals for state spending and intervention."

"No one can now suggest that Mme Royal has no proposals. If anything, they are too detailed and give the impression of someone running for prime minister, rather than head of state," the Independent wrote.

"There was little to give a sense of overall vision."

Britain's left-leaning Guardian also saw Royal's 100-point plan as an "appeal to the traditional left ... after positioning herself for months as an outsider unburdened by Socialist party dogma."

It said that her highly-detailed proposals were a calculated bid "to convince the French people that her ideas were not the vacuous, touchy-feely waffle that her critics have claimed."

London's Financial Times business daily, under the headline, "Royal in rallying call for shift to left", also judged that she "has opted to cloak herself in the traditional values of the French left".

The right-wing press elsewhere in Europe was broadly scathing.

"All in red now!" wrote Germany's conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, commenting that Royal's "elegant suit jacket ... was no longer white but the red of internationalist socialism."

"With a speech that falls in line with the discipline of her left-wing party, Segolene Royal has announced the end of her dogmatic independence."

"Where but France could a politician hope to win office on such a platform?" asked Britain's Daily Telegraph.

"Individually, these policies poll well. But we suspect that, when they stand before the urns, the French will see the difference between an uncosted wish-list and a programme of government."

The Times said Royal "appeared to have reignited the confidence of her party after a month of gaffes and blunders," but also criticised her return to "antique Socialist doctrines."

And in Spain, the right-wing El Mundo criticised her "populist tone".

"The fundamental question in this election is whether a party's electoral programme can be put together 'a la carte', based simply on the demands ofcitizens," it wrote.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Presidential election, Segolene Royal

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