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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2007, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Reporter in bed with politician? say it ain't so!

The amazing menage a trois at the top of French politics
By COLIN RANDALL - Last updated at 08:12am on 20th June 2007

Segolene Royal has announced the end of her relationship with Francois Hollande

Segolene Royal lost the French election and now she's kicked out her partner for infidelity. He, of course, is party leader and now, guess what, she wants his job...

She was the socialist in stilettos, the woman who injected femininity, glamour and sex appeal into the French elections.

And as she embarked on her ill-fated bid to become France's first woman president this spring, Segolene Royal, an alluring mother-of four, appeared as a wonderful breath of fresh air who dared to challenge the macho forces of French politics.

Aside from her good looks, here was a modern woman with new ideas about how to drag France into the 21st century. She pledged compassion and support for those in society who merited it.

Anxious not to overlook the exasperation of ordinary French people with lawlessness on the tough estates, she also promised the firm smack of discipline for delinquents and their parents.

Her partner of 30 years - and father of her children - was the socialist party leader Francois Hollande.

Together they were the power couple of French politics, the equivalent of Bill and Hillary Clinton, ready to spearhead the rejuvenation of the French Left.

Even Jacques Chirac's wife, a political conservative, felt comfortable in talking up Royal as a potential successor to her husband.

But above all, in the context of fractious and enfeebled French socialism, Sego was her own woman, not an elephant, as the grey, male and mostly tired old warhorses of the party are known.

How long it seems since Royal burst onto the political centre stage with such feminine Èlan and dynamism.

Heavily defeated in the Presidential election by Nicolas Sarkozy last month, her Socialist party was also beaten by Sarkozy's conservative allies in Sunday's parliamentary election.

What is more, Segolene Royal announced on Monday that her partner Francois Hollande - whom she never married - had moved out of their home after months of speculation over the couple's love life.

And now Royal has made it clear that she wants to take over his job as general secretary of the Socialist party - even though Hollande has said he will not leave the post until 2008.

It is true that the French are usually sniffily ambivalent about the detail of romantic disputes among public figures. Family break-ups happen, they say.

But this particular break-up has caused extraordinary interest as the French people gaze at the wreckage of the golden couple of Left-wing French politics.

Not least because Hollande is widely rumoured to have been having an affair with a political journalist.

hollande split

Francois Hollande has broken up with Segolene Royal over his affair with journalist Valerie Trierweller

Royal herself alludes to the liaison in a book out today, and at least two of France's more irreverent political websites have named the other woman as ValÈrie Trierweiler.

Since Trierweiler is employed by the glossy weekly Paris Match to report on none other than France's Parti Socialiste, and has written profiles on Hollande, her objectivity is being called into question.

And the extraordinary thing is that, despite his apparent misdemeanours, many are sympathising not with Segolene, but with Hollande - an impassioned politician whose energy and red face during speeches has led critics to call him "wild strawberry".

Once described in his country as a man who would have been perfect as a classic Old Labour prime minister of Britain, Hollande may sometimes seem dull and selfimportant, especially when compared with the vivacious Royal.

But, as two Left-voting French women put it to me, he deserves some compassion for having endured the most exacting of relationships with the calculating, rapaciously ambitious Segolene.

In a society that often forgives men who wander more readily than women who neglect their traditional role, Royal - for all her womanly charms - is now perceived as curiously unfeminine.

She may have four children ranging in age from 14 to 22, but critics say that despite the lipstick and well-turned heel, she has few wifely or maternal qualities.

On Sunday night, she should have been able to savour the plaudits for having helped her party to avoid melt-down in the general election.

Electors had handed a comfortable majority to Nicolas Sarkozy's centre-Right party, but had not delivered the crushing blow to the socialists that had been predicted. Royal had worked as hard as anyone to avoid that.

But the applause became muted as news emerged that Royal had announced the end of her relationship with Hollande. Senior party colleagues could scarcely contain their fury.

It hardly mattered that she was claiming to be outraged by the fact that the story had leaked.

For if there was a leak, it occurred just three days before today's publication of Behind The Scenes Of A Defeat, a book by two respected political journalists in which Royal freely volunteers that she and Hollande are no longer a couple.

She tells the authors of having asked Hollande to leave the couple's-flat in a swish west Parisian suburb.

All of this - including her claim that she had wished Hollande every future happiness - has come to look a little self-serving.

For the speculation about their relationship has preoccupied France for some time. Last spring, there were cosy photographs of the couple arm in arm on a Riviera holiday.

When rivals suggested the pictures were orchestrated to counter gossip about their relationship, Royal protested innocence, declaring: "The pictures were snatched."

Months later, Royal was suggesting she and Hollande might be about to marry. And just weeks ago, the pair were launching legal action against the authors of a different book from the one she sanctioned - one that suggested all was not well with them.

The fact that Royal was reportedly seen wearing a wedding ring during the closing stages of the election campaign to woo the family vote simply adds fuel to criticism of her cynical ambition.

Perhaps the socialist rank-and-file who chose her as their candidate last year should have listened to those who, even earlier, were whispering about a darker side.

From Parisian diplomatic circles to cafÈ terraces in her fiefdom of western France, where she presides over the Poitou-Charentes regional council, people would mutter about her reputation as a ruthless manipulator.

"She makes herself so hard to work with that there are people who absolutely loathe her," one ambassador told me.

Some leading socialists are openly saying that their party's prospects have been gravely damaged by the disintegration of relations between Royal and Hollande.

And they realise that Sunday's mini-revival in the weekend's parliamentary elections cannot disguise their relative impotence as Sarkozy sets about building a new France.

Yet the truth is that when the Socialist Party chose her as their presidential candidate, she was seen as the only credible hope of success - no one else seemed to have the slightest hope of standing between Nicolas Sarkozy, with his bold programme of reforms.

Will the rupture of the past few days - her private life in turmoil, her position in politics under unprecedented scrutiny - cause the permanent downfall of Segolene Royal?

Francois Hollande may be ready to prepare his retreat into a lowerprofile new life, but anyone who believes she is about to do likewise is probably underestimating her resilience and her wiles.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2007, 12:46 PM
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2007, 02:33 PM
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This would put a smile on our president if he can find a procecutor to do it for him. Maybe Gonzales' next job
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2007, 04:35 PM
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2007, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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The money they give to party politics has nothing to do with their objectivity in reporting.

Would they lie?
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hahahahaha!
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2007, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
The money they give to party politics has nothing to do with their objectivity in reporting.

Would they lie?
.
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hahahahaha!
What a card you are...

Don't believe everything you think
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