Running last in recent polls, Laurent Fabius is the most experienced of the three Socialist candidates. Once a moderate, he has veered to the left. “I am a candidate because there are situations, inequalities, injustices that I do not accept,” he said. A former Prime Minister of France, pundits say Fabius is not the most charismatic man but his policies are clear. He is the only one of the three to have rejected the EU constitution in the French referendum – against the party line. Since then, he has courted left-wing voters with promises of a “more social Europe” and a rise in the minimum wage if he is elected.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn or DSK, as he is known, calls himself a “social democrat”. He presents himself as a “radical reformist” but many say he iss trying to slyly bring in liberal policies. “I am running to ensure the solutions of a modern social democracy are carried out in France,” Strauss-Kahn said. His relaxed personna does not mask a gift of the gab, media skills nor his experience. The former Finance Minister claims credit for France’s economic revival in the late 90s. He believes the party’s socialist principles should be a guide not an inflexible doctrine.
Finally, “Madame Sondage” or “Madame opinion polls” as she is known, Segolene Royale is the most popular of the three candidates, according to polls among Socialist voters. She has not announced a real programme yet. Instead, critics say she specialises in vague comments. “I am a candidate because I believe in political will, especially in the economy,” she said in a TV debate. Her opponents say the few policies Royal has announced are populist and lean to the right. She has questioned the party’s 35 hour working week policy and speaks of a democracy for all people, in which the French understand their place in society and business.