Ségolène Royal may be down but she is not out. Almost immediately after the announcement of the initial results of the presidential election, and before she appeared on the balcony at her party headquarters in Paris, the socialist candidate went on television to concede defeat.
Gracious and eloquent, she thanked her supporters and promised that the political fight would continue: “My fellow citizens of France, my friends, the electorate has made its decision: I wish the next President of the Republic success in serving the French nation. From the bottom of my heart, I thank the 17 million voters who gave me their support and I sympathise with their disappointment. But I can tell you that something has been awakened that will not be easily sent back to sleep.
“Stay alert, because other democratic challenges await us. I will continue the fight that I have begun, that we undertook, to ensure that France will bear fruit. I am sure that because of us, hope will live on. It’s my belief as a woman of the left, and of progress. Long live the Republic, long live France.”
Even if Royal plans to lead the opposition, and campaign for the upcoming legislative elections, it is not clear what support she will get from within her own party. There has been strong criticism from within the ranks for the way in which Royal carried out her election campaign.