Friday, June 09, 2006

Madame la Présidente... ?

From recent news reports, Ségolène Royal sounds like a French Tony Blair - questioning the 35 hour week, tough on crime, ... Interview with her this morning on France Inter. (QUESTION DIRECTE ). She was not asked the tough questions, like about the 35 hour week: the focus on crime (délinquance) seems to have taken attention away from the economic issues.

The parties to the left of the PS - the PCF, the LCR and Lutte Ouvrière may agree on a single candidate for the Présidentielle next year. It looks like the first round could be crucial again. The far-left candidate is unlikely to get through, but, after 2002, it could be the centre-right against the FN or the PS (with Mme Royal the favourite to be candidate) against the centre-right or the FN. Of course, any far-left candidate(s) could drain support from the PS.

Update: This is what The Economist had to say:
WHEN Britain's Labour Party chose Tony Blair as leader in 1994, left-wingers held their noses. Despite their distaste, he felt fresh, looked good and was popular enough to offer Labour its best chance of regaining power after 15 years in the wilderness. In France, where the Socialist Party has not had the presidency for 11 years [...], a similar hunger has taken hold. The difference is that party grandees are putting up stiff resistance to the candidate who feels fresh, looks good and has conquered public opinion: Ségolène Royal.
Hardly had the outcry [over her proposals for delinquents] died away before she broke another taboo, the 35-hour week, introduced by a previous Socialist government. This time, she veered leftwards. Her criticism was not that it stifled the work ethic or burdened companies, but that it had bred too much insecurity: bosses had won flexible working practices in return for reducing the working week with no loss of pay. “Managers have benefited from extra days off and workers have had to work on Saturdays,” she wrote on her website [...].

At first glance, she seems guilty of ideological incoherence. In one breath, she criticises—however counter-intuitively—the 35-hour week for being too liberal; in another, she praises Mr Blair's employment record.
'The irresistible rise of Ségolène Royal', 8 Jun 2006


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