Divided and at war, Segolene Royal and Martine Aubry represent the new French Socialism. One will become party leader tonight. The battle is for the soul of the Left. Three consecutive presidential election defeats see the party torn between the future and the past.
“Once again, the prophets of doom are wrong, because fundamentally, the driving force of the Socialist Party is freedom, the freedom to vote,” said Royal.
Royal won the first round of voting, but her opponent Aubry is confident. Many French left-wingers say Royal is a lightweight, and prefer Aubry’s speak form the heart Socialism.
“I believe the French Socialists will choose tonight what they have always done: a Socialist party with the values of the Left, but with new answers, a party which has changed. They will vote with France in mind,” said Aubry.
The big winner in all this is President Sarkozy. The lack of a coherent opposition means his reforms go almost unchallenged. By comparison, the Left’s power struggles look like small talk.