Monday, June 11, 2007

Ségolène Royal: the gender effect

(16 May) This via e-mail
Ms. Royal had repeatedly appealed to the women of France to vote for her in a show of female solidarity. But Mr. Sarkozy ... got the majority of the women’s vote,
I should imagine that Sarkozy also got the majority of the men’s vote. I have a little anecdotal evidence that women may have voted for her in spite of the fact that she is a Socialist. It's interesting, though, that in her closing remarks in the televised debate with Sarkozy, Ségolène held up the example of another female leader, Angela Merkel.

There's something else: Ségolène Royal is one half of a political couple. I don't think it's sexist to mention that, since it's part of the condition of women that they tend to be married to men. It's interesting to compare Hillary and Bill, but I don't really think there are any comparisons. Francois Hollande, her partner, is I think fairly described as a dinosaur of the Left (the French call them 'elephants'). Apart from the usual economic issues, there is another example: the case of Cesare Battisti, a former extremist, wanted in Italy in connection with four murders, whose cause many on the French Left have taken up for some unaccountable reason (This is hardly ever reported outside France, but here is a piece from the BBC).

When the affair was back in the news in March, Le Monde reported that Ségolène has avoided speaking about this publicly, but those close to her say that, in private, there is no secret about the reservations she had when Hollande went to support Battisti, in February 2004. ("Depuis trois ans, elle a d'ailleurs toujours évité ce sujet sensible, pour lequel une parti de la gauche s'était mobilisée. En privé, ses proches ne font pas mystère des réserves qu'elle éprouvait lorsque François Hollande était allé soutenir, en février 2004, l'ex-activiste écroué à la prison de la Santé." )

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