Socialist split dominates French political scene

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Socialist split dominates French political scene

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France’s Socialist Party remains split down the middle this weekend over support for leadership candidates Segolene Royal and Martine Aubry.

Crippling internal division is nothing new for French Socialists. In their century-long history there have been numerous inter-party divorces.

Now, with just 42 votes in it, former presidential candidate Segolene Royal is refusing to take a back seat.

“Socialist party members have the right, like the rest of the electorate, to a clear vote, not contested and not contestable,” Royal told a national television audience. “Today there are numerous concerns surrounding this vote and it is our responsability, myself and Martine Aubry, to demand another vote for Socialist Party members, a vote which will be carried out under strict conditions,” said Royal.

But Martine Aubry, the narrow winner in Friday’s vote, has already assumed the mantle of office.

“I will be the First Secretary for all Socialist Party members,” Aubry promised. “I listened to the results with huge emotion and I understand their importance. It is a serious, heavy, responsability.”

In the French press this morning there was only one real story, that is the Socialist Party schism.

The election result has yet to be validated. That will not happen before Tuesday. The Royal Camp is insisting on a revote on Thursday and has questioned the motives of Martine Aubry, in proclaiming victory while the vote count is still in dispute.