The likely leader of the French Socialist Party in the 2007 elections, Segolene Royal, has been accused of working on her international image; something her rivals say she lacks. On a tour of Europe, Royal has been in Italy talking with Prime Minister Romano Prodi about his country’s financial reforms, immigration and Lebanon.
Said to have more style than substance by her critics, the Socialist candidate has defended herself saying:
“I do not make trips to set an image. I come here because I have been invited. I am here to listen and to talk, to prepare my speeches and to tell the people of France afterwards, if I am voted in, how I interpret international dialogue, how I see the future of Europe and above all how I see France’s role within that future.”
Royal’s next visits are to Spain and Brussels in the footsteps of her Conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy. Unlike the French Interior Minister though, the most popular woman in French politics will not speak publicly at the European headquarters, but will give photo opportunities.