The French Socialist party’s summer conference has kicked off with all eyes on the major challengers for the presidency. The only woman among them, Ségolène Royal, is considered by many analysts to be the left’s only chance to replace Jacques Chirac next year.
But party politics is never simple, especially when the Socialist’s leader, Francois Hollande, is Royale’s long time partner, and former ministers like Laurent Fabius and Dominique Strauss-Khan also want to run for president. “How many other parties can boast 6 or 7 possible presidential candidates – and not just anyone, these are top quality people,” said one Socialist Party supporter. Some Socialists think Madame Royal will steal the show. “I think she’ll win because there are more women than there are men voting,” commented an older woman. Royal has been criticised for her perceived lack of firm policy proposals.