The favourite to win the presidency in France, Ségolène Royal, has held talks with the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in Madrid. Known in Spain as “La Zapatera”, Royal attended a Socialist party conference debate on women’s equality.
She says she is inspired by Spain, where there as many female as male ministers in office. Her visit followed a speech a northern France at a French Socialist Party meeting where she called for party unity. “These internal debates we are having – and we should have as many as are needed – must not be moments for in-fighting because that would destroy all hope of beating the right-wing. And we must defeat the right in 2007.”
Her nearest rival is former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin who warned of the threat posed by the right’s likely candidate – Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. “I think the future candidate of the UMP is, to my mind, dangerous for the country in his ideas. He has a frightening personality.” France’s Socialist Party faithful will choose their candidate for next spring’s presidential race in November.