Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

FRENCH ELECTION UPDATE : Women voters shun Royal
The Sunday Times UK ^ | May 6, 2007 | Matthew Campbell

Posted on 05/06/2007 9:58:53 PM PDT by Cincinna

HAVING tried everything else in her quest to stop the seemingly inexorable march of Nicolas Sarkozy, the conservative candidate, Ségolène Royal played what she hoped was her trump card in the last hours of the battle for the French presidency: her femininity.

In a desperate attempt to woo undecided voters, Royal was reduced to emphasising the novelty of having a woman in the Elysée Palace who was more than just a first lady.

“I know there are those who thought – and who still think – is it really reasonable to choose a woman?” she said in her final campaign rally in the northern city of Lille on Thursday night. “Is France going to dare? I want to say: dare. Dare! You won’t regret it.”

Some called it a gamble, worrying that Royal’s use of her gender might transform her into a divisive “symbol of sexist revenge”, as Sylviane Agacinski, the author and psychologist, put it.

There was not much danger of that, however. It emerged that Royal was being let down at the ballot box not by centrists, Socialists or any other political bloc but by the one sector of the electorate that might have been expected to rally to her cause in droves: women.

She may have been misled by an Elle magazine opinion poll in January that suggested France was a haven of sisterly solidarity and put her comfortably ahead among women. This seemed to vindicate her approach of appealing for votes not as a woman but as the best-qualified candidate to replace President Jacques Chirac.

Things began to change last month, however, when other polls showed that women were falling under the spell of the diminutive Sarkozy, even if Cécilia, his errant wife, was rumoured to have abandoned him once more.

Royal changed tack, launching direct appeals to women voters, but by then it was too late: in the first round of voting on April 22, more women voted for him (32%) than for her (28%). So much for what the pundits had been calling the “gender effect”.

In a series of campaign appearances last week, she intensified her appeals to women, invoking the memory of Olympe de Gouges, author of the Declaration of the Rights of Women, who was sent to the guillotine in 1793.

Royal appealed to “all those women who have trouble making ends meet at the end of the month, saleswomen, cashiers, auxiliary nurses, cleaners”.

The problem, however, was not how to win more support among working women: they were already more inclined to vote for Royal than for Sarkozy. It was their mothers’ generation, the over65s, who were giving her the cold shoulder – 43% of them voted for Sarkozy.

As Mariette Sineau, a political analyst, put it: “This age group of women tends to associate masculinity with power.”

Janine Mossuz-Lavau, of the National Scientific Research Centre, was even more explicit: “The aged, conservative, Catholic population that grew up in a system where women did not have political responsibilities might have been very sensitive to macho comments such as, ‘Who is going to look after the children?’ ” This was a reference to a jibe by Laurent Fabius, a former Socialist prime minister and one of Royal’s two rivals in the party’s leadership contest: such comments were common among her male, Socialist rivals at the start of the campaign.

More surprising, however, was how bitchy women were prepared to be about Royal. Michèle Alliot-Marie, the conservative defence minister known for her taste in trouser suits, said recently: “We do not want a president who changes her ideas as often as she changes her skirts.” She later summed up Royal’s performance in the televised duel with Sarkozy on Wednesday by saying: “Being vague is fine for fashion, not for politics.”

It was not just women on the right who felt tempted to put the boot in. Feminists who might have been expected to applaud the first woman with a real chance of becoming president sniffed at what they saw as her prudishness.

“This country doesn’t need a mummy to give it moral lectures,” said Catherine Millet, controversial author of The Sexual Life of Catherine M.

Clémentine Autain, communist founder of the Mix-Cité feminist group, sounded more afraid of the “puritan” Socialist candidate than she did of the “macho man Sarko”.

“Her praise of motherhood, her old-fashioned speeches about the family, her way of saying she does politics differently because she is a woman, her fight against pornography – these are not at all my cup of tea,” said Autain.

No man would have dared to make the sort of antiRoyal comments that were tripping off the tongues of women each day.

“Her ‘I’m beautiful, look at me, I’ve got four children’ might impress a supermarket check-out girl but we don’t use that card,” said Nadine Morano, an MP from Sarkozy’s UMP conservative party.

However, one French woman politician was prepared to stand up for her. “Attacks on women are always about their person, never about their policies or their actions,” said Edith Cresson, the country’s first woman prime minister. “It was true in the Eighties and it’s still true today.”

That did not silence Royal’s women critics. She may have won the backing of actress Emmanuelle Béart, who turned up at her rallies, but the pundits were sharpening their knives.

According to Marie-France Etchegoin, a commentator in the Nouvel Observateur, Royal went from “conquering supermum” who had raised four children and held down a remarkable career to an incompetent and vacuous “Emma Bovary of politics”.

Royal’s inability to rally women to her banner was not the only failure. One of her allies was temporarily suspended from the team for identifying François Hollande, the Socialist party’s secretary-general and father of her children, as her “biggest defect”. For a while he had given the impression of believing he, not she, was the candidate, apparently bitter about seeing his own presidential ambitions trampled on by his common-law spouse of the past three decades.

He repeatedly contradicted her, on one occasion even announcing tax rises, to the horror of the candidate, in the event of a Socialist victory.

Sarkozy also swooped on Hollande as the weakest Royal link in his debate with her on Wednesday when he reminded more than 20m television viewers that the partner of the Socialist candidate had once said: “I don’t like the rich.”

Other “elephants”, as the Socialist party’s leaders are known, were no more helpful, voicing support for their champion with the sort of enthusiasm that evoked vultures circling their prey in the desert.

She was dogged from the beginning by questions of competence, often complaining: “A man would never have to undergo the trial of legitimacy to which I have been subjected.”

Sometimes, it seemed, the accusations were justified, as when, in China, which regularly executes prisoners with a bullet in the back of the head, she praised the justice system for being “quicker” than that in France. On another occasion, she referred to the “Taliban regime” in Afghanistan. The Taliban lost power in 2001.

There was also the question of amateurism. Royal had a habit of cancelling engagements at the last minute, dispatching underlings to address provincial audiences that had been patiently waiting for a glimpse of the Socialist Madonna.

Even her own electors in the first round, it turned out, doubted her suitability for the presidency. According to an opinion poll, only 16% of the people who voted for her felt that she had the “stature” of a president.

At the outset, the presence of a female candidate in the race had appeared to herald a new era in politics, a fresh start. The television debate on Wednesday, however, made clear that this was a choice between a man and a woman, no matter how much the candidates tried to blur the distinction.

Royal went on the offensive and the normally combative Sarkozy, who did not want to be the “macho man Sarko” of feminist lore, meekly took her punches.

Sarkozy was more convincing on “male” topics, such as the economy and foreign affairs. Royal seemed stronger when talking about the environment, education and handicapped children.

So it seemed as if the French were ready for a woman in high office in their minds but not, as the final decision drew near, in reality.

As one commentator put it after the debate: “She basically showed she would make a formidable leader of the opposition.”


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: france; frenchelection; oohlala; royal; sarkozy
What a load of BS. If Royal hads not been a Socialist and not an absolutely terrible incompetent politician, perhaps she wouldn't have lost.

She didn't lose because she is a woman. She lost because of the kind of woman she is, the beliefs she has, and her own incompetence.

1 posted on 05/06/2007 9:58:55 PM PDT by Cincinna
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

Well, you know my nickname for her: La salope méchante.
That was my first thought when I watched debate between her and Sarkozy this past week. She came-across as a shrill fishwife.


2 posted on 05/06/2007 10:01:31 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nctexan; MassachusettsGOP; paudio; ronnie raygun; Minette; WOSG; fieldmarshaldj; BillyBoy; ...

Expect to hear a lot more whining from the Socialist sore losers and their apologists, both in France, and right here at home.

The intelligent members of the PS like Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Laurent Fabius stated outright that is was a resounding total defeat. They said the PS must reshape itself, modernize, and move away from the old Socialists ideas.

Who will lead the PS into the Legislative Elections in June? The long knoves are out for Sego. Heads will roll.

Stay tuned!


3 posted on 05/06/2007 10:02:31 PM PDT by Cincinna (HILLARY & HER HINO "We are going to take things away from you for the Common Good")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
When does Sarkozy officially take the reins?
4 posted on 05/06/2007 10:05:06 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
She is no Hillary Clinton


5 posted on 05/06/2007 10:06:05 PM PDT by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

As I’m certain the Democrats here will discover in the near future, there is indeed a limit to the amount of pandering the voting public can stand.


6 posted on 05/06/2007 10:07:20 PM PDT by JennysCool ("The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." -Mencken)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Army Air Corps

According to Wikipedia, a week from Wednesday.


7 posted on 05/06/2007 10:09:35 PM PDT by GiveEmDubya
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: GiveEmDubya
Gracias.

Much mischief can take place in that time.

8 posted on 05/06/2007 10:12:03 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

What a load of BS. If Royal hads not been a Socialist and not an absolutely terrible incompetent politician, perhaps she wouldn’t have lost.
She didn’t lose because she is a woman. She lost because of the kind of woman she is, the beliefs she has, and her own incompetence.
:::
Send this to Hillary — people can and do get tired of socialists and socialism and incompetence in government. This could be a preview of the next four years of our country...


9 posted on 05/06/2007 10:13:28 PM PDT by EagleUSA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

It’d be nice if women cost Hillary any further wins.

I suppose the Muslims didn’t want a women either.


10 posted on 05/06/2007 10:13:29 PM PDT by Aria (NO RAPIST ENABELER FOR PRESIDENT!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
An article was posted here yesterday about how America might take France's lead and choose a woman as they were possibly about to.

The MSM and the socialists throughout the world are entranced by novelty, because the simple facts that hard work and appealing ideas that are SANE are too confusing for them. They want to pass off their fairy tales about the joys of socialism as something other than what they are, pipe dreams that have failed every time they've been implemented, disastrously so.

11 posted on 05/06/2007 10:19:28 PM PDT by Darkwolf377 (Anti-socialist Bostonian, Anti-Illegal Immigration Bush supporter, Pro-Life Atheist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Army Air Corps
She [Royal] came across as a shrill fishwife.

The women of the left usually do.

12 posted on 05/06/2007 10:26:22 PM PDT by my_pointy_head_is_sharp (We're living in the Dark Ages.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Army Air Corps

I know I am not Cincinna, but I recall it will be May 16th or 17th.


13 posted on 05/06/2007 10:54:36 PM PDT by xc1427 (It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees...Midnight Oil (Power and the Passion))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
Re #3

One thing lefties are great at is to talk to death. They will weave all kinds of convoluted sophistry to get people confused and disoriented, attempting to win the debate by making them incomprehensible to their opponents. They are good at it.

By next year, I am sure that they will publish hundreds of books full of opaque leftist jargons purporting to show why the French left lost.

14 posted on 05/06/2007 11:29:23 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster (kim jong-il, kae jong-il, chia head, pogri, midget sh*tbag)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Army Air Corps

The Inauguration will be May 16 2007.


15 posted on 05/06/2007 11:31:05 PM PDT by Cincinna (HILLARY & HER HINO "We are going to take things away from you for the Common Good")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: doug from upland

Cut from the same cloth, but with a better plastic surgeon and a bit more chic.


16 posted on 05/06/2007 11:32:02 PM PDT by Cincinna (HILLARY & HER HINO "We are going to take things away from you for the Common Good")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
She didn't lose because she is a woman. She lost because of the kind of woman she is, the beliefs she has, and her own incompetence.

I have to admit, I never followed French politics closely until recently. What I remember from six months ago, however, was all sorts of references to Segolene Royal as the Next President of France. In much of the media, her election seemed to be a mere formality. There was no way she could lose.

So, was that all just pre-election hype, similar to the way many in this country seem to want to coronate Hillary! Rodham Clinton two years early? Or is Royal that bad a politician, that she managed to fritter away an insurmountable lead in six short months?

17 posted on 05/07/2007 2:37:59 AM PDT by gridlock (If the French elect Sarkozy, I will abstain from French Bashing for one year.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
Royal’s inability to rally women to her banner was not the only failure. One of her allies was temporarily suspended from the team for identifying François Hollande, the Socialist party’s secretary-general and father of her children, as her “biggest defect”. For a while he had given the impression of believing he, not she, was the candidate, apparently bitter about seeing his own presidential ambitions trampled on by his common-law spouse of the past three decades... He repeatedly contradicted her, on one occasion even announcing tax rises, to the horror of the candidate, in the event of a Socialist victory... Sarkozy also swooped on Hollande as the weakest Royal link in his debate with her on Wednesday when he reminded more than 20m television viewers that the partner of the Socialist candidate had once said: “I don’t like the rich.”

A Preview of Coming Attractions for the US electorate, perhaps?

18 posted on 05/07/2007 2:46:19 AM PDT by gridlock (If the French elect Sarkozy, I will abstain from French Bashing for one year.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
Cut from the same cloth, but with a better plastic surgeon and a bit more chic.

Segolene Royal is an attractive woman, no doubt. Surely that is not all creditable to the sugeon's knife?

Where as Rodham is just not attractive at all, in any way.

19 posted on 05/07/2007 2:49:44 AM PDT by gridlock (If the French elect Sarkozy, I will abstain from French Bashing for one year.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

Royal appealed to “all those women who have trouble making ends meet at the end of the month, saleswomen, cashiers, auxiliary nurses, cleaners”.

Yeah. And she's never worked a day in the private sector.

20 posted on 05/07/2007 3:04:07 AM PDT by D-fendr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

So it seemed as if the French were ready for a woman in high office in their minds but not, as the final decision drew near, in reality.

I think that is the case in the US as well. I notice they have made this entire article abut Royal’s personality, very little of it has to do with her political positions.


21 posted on 05/07/2007 3:22:07 AM PDT by padre35 (we are surrounded that simplifies things-Chesty Puller)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: padre35

A 10% margin of victory is huge.


22 posted on 05/07/2007 5:03:19 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: padre35
As in the US, France may be ready for a woman, but they were not ready for that woman.
23 posted on 05/07/2007 5:35:22 AM PDT by gridlock (If the French elect Sarkozy, I will abstain from French Bashing for one year.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna
Maggie Thatcher never had to play the "womyn" card. A serious leader, she was about policy and the country.

Women politicians succeed when their sex becomes irrelevant.

When they campaign as a woman, they lose. Over and over.

I only hope Hitlery will make the same mistake.
24 posted on 05/07/2007 8:01:37 AM PDT by George W. Bush (Election Math For Dummies: GOP Rudi = Hillary)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Cincinna

Maybe two years of cars burning on the curb had a little something to do with the flight to quality. ;’)


25 posted on 05/07/2007 9:58:02 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated May 6, 2007.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: potlatch; PhilDragoo; ntnychik; MeekOneGOP; dixiechick2000; Grampa Dave; Interesting Times; ...



"A 10% margin of victory is huge."



- On Sunday May 7, 2007 NBC news reported:

"Segolene Royal lost the French election by a slight
margin of votes to right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy.........."

26 posted on 05/07/2007 10:01:54 AM PDT by devolve ( -25%_the_little_fury_with_the_fringe_on_top_)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: doug from upland

You can say that again!


27 posted on 05/07/2007 11:11:09 AM PDT by BenLurkin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: doug from upland
I'm in love...


28 posted on 05/07/2007 11:43:43 AM PDT by jdm (Emptiness is a conductor.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: devolve

Very nice post devolve!


29 posted on 05/07/2007 12:30:51 PM PDT by potlatch (Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. M.Twain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: potlatch

Slick Willie's Canadian


billionaire heiress girlfriend


Belinda Stronach quits politics

30 posted on 05/07/2007 2:00:16 PM PDT by devolve ( -25%_the_little_fury_with_the_fringe_on_top_)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: devolve

From queen to Belinda huh? Lol, I haven’t read the thread but billionaire must be the keyword with her.


31 posted on 05/07/2007 2:09:29 PM PDT by potlatch (Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. M.Twain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: potlatch

She swapped to the Liberal party in Canada and supposed to be the big new power for the lefties but she has decided to return to her family’s business.

Otherwise - she can’t take Harper being the leader and she has no place to go.

The Paris Hilton of Canadian society!


32 posted on 05/07/2007 2:47:26 PM PDT by devolve ( -25%_the_little_fury_with_the_fringe_on_top_)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: devolve

Thanks, you keep me up on the info, lol. Liberal women like to be first ‘in power’.

Conservative women like to be first in other ways.


33 posted on 05/07/2007 2:53:17 PM PDT by potlatch (Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. M.Twain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: devolve; potlatch; ntnychik; Grampa Dave; gonzo

Bill and Belinda’s excellent adventure

34 posted on 05/07/2007 3:03:04 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: gridlock

I can see a woman Presient in either place, for myself I see that coming from the “right” and not the lefties.

IMO, the “right” (That is *us*) form much more personal opinions about our candidates, and when we back them we feel an attachment to them much more so than the left.


35 posted on 05/07/2007 3:38:03 PM PDT by padre35 (we are surrounded that simplifies things-Chesty Puller)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: ClaireSolt

10% in a high tunrout election like this one is a mandate, the French really have spoken with one voice in this election.


36 posted on 05/07/2007 3:39:29 PM PDT by padre35 (we are surrounded that simplifies things-Chesty Puller)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: devolve; PhilDragoo

37 posted on 05/07/2007 6:47:00 PM PDT by potlatch (Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. M.Twain)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: PhilDragoo

Bill and Belinda, eh? No wonder the beaste looks pissed, Phil! ............... FRegards


38 posted on 05/07/2007 8:39:49 PM PDT by gonzo (In Florida, inmates make cigarettes in jail that I buy, and I can go to jail for smoking one! WTF?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: my_pointy_head_is_sharp
"Bow down, b*tch!"
39 posted on 05/08/2007 6:22:23 AM PDT by redstates4ever
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Army Air Corps
>>>When does Sarkozy officially take the reins? <<<

How effective he can be holding those reins will be determined by the Legislative elections in, I believe, June.

If the Socialists romp in the countryside....Sarkozy's right wing policies may be severely compromised. Lets hope they elect a conservative bunch of legislators to compliment Sarko!

40 posted on 05/08/2007 6:58:08 PM PDT by HardStarboard (The Democrats are more afraid of American Victory than Defeat!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: HardStarboard

Amen to that!
They may very well do so. The few French folks with whom I have communications have relayed exasperation with these stupid and destructive demonstrations; they, any many more, want the shenanigans to cease.


41 posted on 05/08/2007 7:02:36 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: HardStarboard

Amen to that!
They may very well do so. The few French folks with whom I have communications have relayed exasperation with these stupid and destructive demonstrations; they, any many more, want the shenanigans to cease.


42 posted on 05/08/2007 7:03:32 PM PDT by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson