Presidential hopefuls from France’s Socialist party have met on stage for the first of three public debates ahead of next month’s primary. The carefully staged performance was aimed at projecting an image of unity between frontrunner Segolene Royal and former ministers Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Laurent Fabius.
Royal lashed out at the ruling conservatives, saying the presidential battle pitted “solidarity, reconciliation and hope for the future against brutality and wild liberalism”. “I thought Fabius was the most persuasive,” said one militant after the debate. Another militant said Segolene Royal was “everything one could hope for in a candidate”. Socialist party members will vote on 16 November to elect a candidate for next year’s presidential election.