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French Socialists desperate for unity

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French Socialists desperate for unity


Blown off course by President Sarkozy’s wind of change, France’s Socialists have spent months arguing about how to get their ship back on track. The Euro elections looming over the horizon have focussed the party’s attention, and internal rivalries have been cast overboard, as party captain Martine Aubry and her once-bitter rival Segolene Royal staged a show of unity for the faithful.

“You carried our party colours in the presidential election battle, you attacked Sarkozy by saying he was lying, and now all France knows you were right,” Aubry said, saluting her rival. The audience lapped it up. The latest opinion polls give the Socialists less than 20 per cent support, and the rapprochement between the two big names can only help. “Let’s work together for a social Europe. No-one but the Left can build that, no-one!” said Royal. For a moment at least all was peace and harmony in the Socialist ranks. But things may not be quite as they seem. Only four weeks ago Aubry and Royal were supposed to appear together at May Day celebrations in Paris. Royal, however, elected to stay in her constituency.

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