French Socialist Party presidential candidate Segolene Royal hopes that her flagging campaign can be kick-started by a strongly left-wing speech she has given to announce her manifesto. Royal’s initially strong political support has slipped amid accusations that she is a crowd- pleaser but lacks ideas.
Trying to present a contrast to her right-wing opponent Nicolas Sarkozy’s hard-man image – particularly over the violence that erupted in the housing estates on the outskirts of France’s big cities – Royal issued an impassioned plea for more to be done for the country’s young people.
Speaking to thousands of supporters at a hall near Paris, she also promised an ambitious series of reforms in the economy, immigration, education, social security and the environment.
After several foreign policy gaffes during earlier campaigning, Royal stuck to a simple message as she took a swipe at Moscow. She said: “I would be a tough President when it comes to denouncing humans rights abuses, war crimes in Chechnya or the assassination in the middle of Moscow of a woman of exceptional honour in her profession, the journalist Anna Politkovskaya.”
On Europe, Royal called for a “euro zone government” and for the European Central Bank’s mandate to be changed to focus it more on economic growth.