Too pretty and too popular for her own good?

FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images The candidate of the left who fails to make the presidential election run-off in an essentially left-wing country like France should hang up his hat. Especially if he’s already lost a presidential election previously and the two right-wing candidates who defeated him were an extreme nationalist and an unpopular incumbent tainted by ...

607337_la_rochelle5.jpg
607337_la_rochelle5.jpg

FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

The candidate of the left who fails to make the presidential election run-off in an essentially left-wing country like France should hang up his hat. Especially if he's already lost a presidential election previously and the two right-wing candidates who defeated him were an extreme nationalist and an unpopular incumbent tainted by corruption allegations, respectively. But former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has concluded that his résumé makes him the ideal Socialist candidate for the 2007 election. 

Accordingly, Jospin made his return to the political stage this weekend with an emotional speech at the Socialists' youth conference at La Rochelle. According to the FT, he'll lobby the other prospective male presidential candidates to drop out in the next few weeks to leave him as the "stop Ségolène Royal" candidate


FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

The candidate of the left who fails to make the presidential election run-off in an essentially left-wing country like France should hang up his hat. Especially if he’s already lost a presidential election previously and the two right-wing candidates who defeated him were an extreme nationalist and an unpopular incumbent tainted by corruption allegations, respectively. But former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has concluded that his résumé makes him the ideal Socialist candidate for the 2007 election. 

Accordingly, Jospin made his return to the political stage this weekend with an emotional speech at the Socialists’ youth conference at La Rochelle. According to the FT, he’ll lobby the other prospective male presidential candidates to drop out in the next few weeks to leave him as the “stop Ségolène Royal” candidate

Royal’s crime is to have spent her time making herself popular with the public—she’s the only Socialist who could beat Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy—rather than courting party elders. She also dared to deviate from party orthodoxy on various subjects such as crime and employment. Jospin is hoping to attack her for being a pretty face, announcing in his speech that “[t]echnique does not replace politics.” (A somewhat ironic charge, from a man who had just very publicly welled up while discussing his 2002 defeat and had to take a dramatic sip of water before continuing.) And other contenders have made comments that make Forbes‘s Michael Noer sound like an ambassador for gender equality. 

As if all this wasn’t drama enough, Royal’s common-law husband might end up running against her for the Socialist nomination.

James Forsyth is assistant editor at Foreign Policy.

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