The race for the 2007 presidency in France is heating up. With the socialist candidate stealing the limelight, the conservative interior minister has announced he will be running for the candidacy of the right. This was not a big surprise, as Nicolas Sarkozy had already made his political ambitions plain. A recent poll has shown that within the ruling conservatives he is the frontrunner.
But fellow UMP minister Georges Tron said he was looking forward to his party’s primaries: “We must have a democratic debate. Each contender must be able to express him or herself, opinions must be heard by the candidates and in particular Sarkozy – the UMP chairman.”
Segolene Royal was resoundingly chosen as the Socialist presidential candidate. In what has been seen as an attempt to steal Sarkozy’s thunder, she has made a surprise visit to the Middle East. Analysts say the relatively inexperienced Royal will also be out to prove she has the foreign policy mettle to be France’s first woman president. Her trip is to take her to some of the world’s trouble hotspots – starting in Lebanon, then heading to the Palestinian territories and Israel.