Beach campaigning

You know things are heating up in French politics when even les grandes vaccances are not sacred. This is the last summer before the 2007 presidential election and the two front runners are both indulging in some seaside electioneering. First, Nicolas Sarkozy, the likely candidate of the right, published Témoignage, which both sets out his ...

607550_Sego5.jpg
607550_Sego5.jpg

You know things are heating up in French politics when even les grandes vaccances are not sacred. This is the last summer before the 2007 presidential election and the two front runners are both indulging in some seaside electioneering. First, Nicolas Sarkozy, the likely candidate of the right, published Témoignage, which both sets out his political credo and deals—unusually for a French politician—with his personal life, including the breakdown and revival of his marriage. The book shot to the top of the best-seller lists and became the must-have beach read of the summer.

Sarko bested his likely opponent Ségolène Royal, whose book is due out in September, by pushing forward the publication date to take advantage of the fact that "the only time the French talk politics with their family is during the holidays." Sarko has even headed onto the dunes to sign copies. All this was combined with a blitz of the beaches by his UMP party.

But now Ségo has stolen some of Sarko's thunder: She's been snapped by the paparazzi in her bikini. Seeing as Ségo is apparently the 6th sexiest woman in the world, this isn't likely to harm her numbers. The intriguing question, as The Times’s man in Paris, Charles Bremner, points out, is will she sue? Under France's privacy laws she's entitled to. But seeing as Sarko isn't shy of using the snappers to get his message across—recent shots of him and his wife kissing confirmed their reconciliation—Ségo might be happy to let this fly. The recent sacking of the editor of Paris Match for publishing photos of Sarko's wife with her lover, though, shows that these things can cut both ways.

You know things are heating up in French politics when even les grandes vaccances are not sacred. This is the last summer before the 2007 presidential election and the two front runners are both indulging in some seaside electioneering. First, Nicolas Sarkozy, the likely candidate of the right, published Témoignage, which both sets out his political credo and deals—unusually for a French politician—with his personal life, including the breakdown and revival of his marriage. The book shot to the top of the best-seller lists and became the must-have beach read of the summer.

Sarko bested his likely opponent Ségolène Royal, whose book is due out in September, by pushing forward the publication date to take advantage of the fact that “the only time the French talk politics with their family is during the holidays.” Sarko has even headed onto the

dunes to sign copies. All this was combined with a blitz of the beaches by his UMP party.

But now Ségo has stolen some of Sarko’s thunder: She’s been snapped by the paparazzi in her bikini. Seeing as Ségo is apparently the 6th sexiest woman in the world, this isn’t likely to harm her numbers. The intriguing question, as The Times’s man in Paris, Charles Bremner, points out, is will she sue? Under France’s privacy laws she’s entitled to. But seeing as Sarko isn’t shy of using the snappers to get his message across—recent shots of him and his wife kissing confirmed their reconciliation—Ségo might be happy to let this fly. The recent sacking of the editor of Paris Match for publishing photos of Sarko’s wife with her lover, though, shows that these things can cut both ways.

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

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