French Socialists discuss defeat

Veterans cool to Segolene Royal's plea for quick selection of 2012 poll candidate.

    Royal, centre, told Socialist veterans on Saturday in Paris she felt constantly threatened by splits [AFP]

    Royal lost to Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative leader, last weekend, the Socialist party's third consecutive presidential election defeat.
     
    Party elders wanted to postpone any post-mortem until after June's parliamentary election, hoping to rally their dispirited forces to prevent Sarkozy from winning a landslide.
     
    Betrayed?
     
    Royal told delegates that while Sarkozy had enjoyed unfailing loyalty from his rightist allies, she felt constantly threatened by splits within her own camp and she talked of "betrayal".
     
    She said: "Every morning I would open the newspapers and ask myself which Socialist was going to attack me over what I was saying."
     
    Royal, a regional leader in western France, won the nomination last November after a primary election that damaged party unity.
     
    New pick
     
    Royal said the new Socialist champion should be selected after the June election.
     
    "Every morning I'd open the newspapers and ask myself which Socialist was going to attack me over what I was saying"

    Segolene Royal,
    unsuccessful Socialist
    presidential candidate

    She said: "The candidate must be picked much more quickly so that he or she does not get worn out by squabbles and internal fighting."
     
    She has made clear over the past week she would like to lead the Socialists and her many rivals at the top of the party dismissed her appeal.
     
    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister, believes the party is locked in antiquated leftist dogma and wants to lead it himself towards the centre.
     
    He said: "This issue really does not seem at all interesting to me. The question of presidential candidates is closed for now."
     
    Poll result
     
    An IFOP opinion poll published on Saturday showed 39 per cent of people thought Strauss-Kahn was better placed to renew the Socialists against 37 per cent who supported Royal.
     
    Francois Hollande, the Socialist Party leader, who is also the father of Royal's four children, called for discussion on the presidential election to be delayed until after June but indicated he thought voters shunned the left because of its manifesto.
     
    He said: "The programme did not appear coherent enough."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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