What is American about Segolène Royal.
First, as we mentioned previously, the socialist party is the first French political party to choose its candidate through a US-style primary election (other countries have recently done the same,
Second, this is so new in France that it almost feels like this is actually a national election and that her speech to the party (televised live on every French channel) resembles an American inaugural address.
She is hard to figure out though. On the one hand, her campaign has been inspired by Tony Blair (whom she has said to admire) in its emphasis on moral values, great sense of media opportunity and her ability to connect with the public. On the other hand, her economic views are much more in the tradition of French orthodox socialism. While she speaks of the need to break with the "French way", she also talks about the need to protect jobs and increase security in the face of “globalization”.
It is also unusual, in centralized
Her words have emphasized another very American theme – looking to the future and change with bright optimism and building a grassroot movement:
The world has changed.
has moved, so politics must change. I do not only want to embody this profound change but to build it with you. The French are ready for reform, but they're not going to consent to decisions imposed on them without their involvement. France
Her speech was very inclusive - something you always see in American political speeches after primaries:
must completely recognize -- as its own, legitimate children -- all the young people whose families came from abroad, who are today French in their own right. France 's diversity must bring a formidable energy. France
It is also worth noting that she has clearly hinted at Kennedy whom she has also said to admire (here in French):
We shall climb the mountain up to victory. We are supported by a cause that is greater than us. So I call for all the French, men and women of our country – unite and rally and ask yourself what you can do for your country.
Let's imagine a
That is definitely a break from old French political rhetoric. Now we’ll see if she acts accordingly. Whatever she might say, there is a consensus that above all, she is much more pragmatic and ideological. That too, is a very American trait. Maybe just what the French need in this day and age.