What a fantastic Florida-like mess in the French Socialist Party. Martine Aubry – Jacques Delors’s daughter – claims to have won the leadership of the party, beating Segolene Royal by 42 votes out of more than 134,000 cast. Royal is demanding a recount and has accused Aubry of issuing an auto-proclamation to claim the leadership – a word redolent of Latin American coups.
Francois Hollande, the party’s outgoing leader, must have rather complicated feelings as he tries to sort all this out – he is, after all, Segolene’s estranged ex-husband. Meanwhile President Sarkozy is gloating openly, announcing grandly that – “Nothing unites the Socialist Party leaders except an astonishingly violent hatred.” It’s a great line. But he has a certain cheek, given that his own erstwhile rival – Dominique de Villepin – is now going to face trial for his alleged role in efforts to blacken Sarko’s name. What is the French for chutzpah? Read more