Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ségolène in attack mode

The recent behavior of former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal has been unexpected, indeed disturbing. First, when everybody was jubilating about the release of Ingrid Betancourt, Ségolène threw a spanner in the works by declaring publicly that Nicolas Sarkozy had played no role whatsoever in that operation. In fact, Ségolène's opinion was justified. Like many observers, I was shocked when I saw Sarkozy making a TV appearance with Ingrid's children in tow, just an hour or so after the message of her release was flashed on our screens. But Ségolène's outspoken opinion on this affair struck many people as "politically incorrect", since Sarkozy had been attempting constantly to obtain the release of Ingrid Betancourt, but with no success.

More recently, Ségolène shocked many people when she suggested that a couple of criminal intrusions into her Paris flat might be linked in a causal manner to her public criticism of Sarkozy's style of reigning over France. In speaking in this way, she did in fact come very close to blaming the Sarkozy clan for a misdemeanor, but without supplying any explicit proofs for such an accusation.

Some of Sarkozy's political associates have suggested that Ségolène has "blown a fuse", and lost control of herself... but I'm not convinced that her detractors really believe what they're saying. It's quite obvious that Ségolène, faced with the phenomenon of Sarkozy, has decided deliberately to step up her carefully-planned provocations and move into attack mode, so that French citizens see her clearly, from now on, as an aggressive opponent of the president. There are no limits, as it were, to the ways and means by which she seeks to vent her anger against Sarkozy. In any case, as far as I'm concerned, Ségolène's anti-Sarkozian outbursts are perfectly logical and politically sound. There would be no point in her trying to be nice and polite with a protagonist such as Sarkozy. In any case, she's unlikely to get hurt, from a popularity viewpoint, by adopting a strategy that consists of being systematically nasty with respect to the president.

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