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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-08

Controversy clouded Women’s Day in France on Friday after Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (photo), a candidate for Paris’ 2014 mayoral elections, accused President François Hollande’s former partner Ségolène Royal of relying on her ex to get ahead.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, a member of France’s right-wing UMP party and candidate for Paris’ 2014 mayoral elections, kicked off International Women’s Day on Friday in a cloud of controversy after criticising French President François Hollande’s former partner Ségolène Royal for supposedly relying on her ex to advance her career.

Known in France by her initials, NKM, Kosciusko-Morizet did not mince her words when it came to taking on Hollande’s one-time companion in an interview with France’s Le Parisien magazine, which was published on Friday.

“There’s something very unsettling about Ségolène Royal’s career,” Kosciusko-Morizet said. “She’s waiting for her ex to nominate her to a job. Yet the most valuable thing for a woman is her autonomy. [A woman] should never depend on a man.”

Kosciusko-Morizet’s comments were in direct reference to Royal’s nomination last month to serve as vice president of France’s new public investment bank, BPI, a state-owned institution that will help finance small businesses.

Royal immediately took to her Twitter account to respond, saying, “I do not expect nominations, but due respect for the value of hard work.”

Rough times for Royal

The past few years haven’t been easy for Royal, who is no stranger to being used as a political punching bag. A long-time member of the Socialist Party (PS), Royal was the left’s great hope to take back the presidency in 2007, after more than a decade of right-wing leaders. As her party’s candidate, Royal ran against then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, with Hollande standing dutifully at her side. Royal ultimately lost the race, and she and Hollande, the father of her four children, parted ways soon after.

Since then Royal has struggled to keep her career afloat. Royal narrowly lost a bitter PS leadership contest in 2008 amid claims of electoral fraud. She took another blow in 2011 after she was trounced in a primary election to become the PS’ presidential candidate for the 2012 race.

But perhaps most humiliating of all was when Hollande’s new partner, Valerie Trierweiler, tweeted her support for Royal’s opponent in last year’s parliamentary elections, which Royal subsequently lost. Trierweiler’s remark created a media frenzy, sparking speculation of a jealous love-triangle.

Kosciusko-Morizet remarks ‘idiotic’

Following Kosciusko-Morizet’s comments, which were released the day before publication, France’s Minister for Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem came out hard against Kosciusko-Morizet’s remarks, calling them “uninteresting”.

“We can easily give her the award for most misogynistic and idiotic sentence, especially on this day of March 8th,” Vallaud-Belkacem said, referring to International Women’s Day.

The PS also issued an official statement condemning Kosciusko-Morizet remarks, calling them “unacceptable.”

“To reduce a woman to her relationship with a man… is a provocation we can’t accept,” the statement read.

Date created : 2013-03-08


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