Thursday, November 16, 2006

French Socialists Hold Primaries for Presidential Candidate.

Tonight is the end of a period that has captivated the French and the media: the bid for the socialist candidate for the presidential elections next year in France. This is something new in France and they call it "primary". Indeed, that's exactly what it is, a closed primary (where only registered members of a party can vote).

The three contenders are Laurent Fabius, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and Ségolène Royal. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, a second round will take place in a week (23 November).

There has been six 'debates' (which were very dull and very formative), with no direct exchanges. Some were public and televised and others were carried out by the pary behind closed doors (where they have had some fun moments - for instance, when Royal was whistled and booed).

  • Segolene Royal is the clear favorite, in the media and in the polls, although no poll of the party members has been carried out, so there's a bit of suspense, supposedly anyway.In my view, she has shown too much inconsistency in a few "serious" policy issues - incuding education, even though she worked as a Minister-delegate at the head of the Ministry of Education.
  • As for Fabius, after being a centrist-socialist while a Prime Minister, he has tried to make a come back as an unapologetic lefty, supporting a far-left policy worthy of the late 70s. He also lead the rebel faction of the socialst party in favor of a no vote to the European Constitution in 2005.
  • My favorite candidate is definitely Dominique Strauss-Kahn who has what resembles a social-democratic platform. He seems to be gaining momentum but most experts still think he has very little chance against Royal.

The French media seem to take the polls for granted and keep predicting a final contest in the second round of the presidential election with Segolène Royal (socialist) and Nicolas Sarkozy (conservative UMP).

At least, we'll know more about the socialist candidate tonight, around midnight.


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