Royal gets tweet-slapped by Hollande’s girlfriend
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Ségolène Royal, former partner to French President Francois Hollande, has been attacked by his new companion Valérie Trierweiler (pictured) who has tweeted her support for Royal’s opponent in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.
French President François Hollande’s girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler announced her support for a political opponent of his ex-partner Ségolène Royal on Tuesday, a move that will embarrass Royal as her political career hangs in the balance.
In a tweet, Trierweiler praised Olivier Falorni, who is running against Royal for the La Rochelle constituency in Sunday’s second round of the parliamentary elections.
“Good luck to Olivier Falorni who is a worthy candidate,” the Paris Match journalist wrote. “For years he has been fighting with selfless commitment for the people of La Rochelle.”
Royal is the former long-term partner of Hollande, with whom she has four children.
The couple separated after her failed 2007 presidential battle against Nicolas Sarkozy, when it emerged he had been having an affair with Trierweiler.
Since then Royal's standing in the party has been in freefall.
She failed to win the leadership of PS in 2008 when Hollande quit to focus on his own presidential ambitions, and in the 2011 primary to choose the party’s presidential candidate she came fourth with less than 7% of the vote.
Royal now faces further humiliation if she fails to hold on to her slim lead against dissident PS candidate Olivier Falorni, who has been expelled from the party for defending his seat.
Falorni, the constituency’s incumbent member of parliament who is known to be close to Hollande, got 29% of the vote against Royal’s 32%. The two will go head to head in a run-off vote on Sunday.
She is also facing a campaign by leading members of the centre-right UMP party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy on the Charente-Maritime council (of which she is president) who have lent implicit support to Falorni in a campaign dubbed “anything but Royal.”
Royal strikes back
In an interview on BFMTV on Tuesday Royal, who hopes to become speaker of the National Assembly, insisted that she had the president’s full support and that she would not quit politics should Falorni beat her on Sunday.
“François Hollande said very clearly that I am the only candidate that he will support in this vote,” she said. “He said that I am the only candidate that shares the vision with his government. If I lose it will be because of the UMP faction [in Charente-Maritime] that wants me out.”
Royal added that her right-wing opponents “simply want to destabilise the Socialist Party” and that their tactics were “politically immoral”.
She also insisted that while she was campaigning for a constituency that she has never represented before, she was the right person for the job.
“I am a liberated woman, I like to stir things up and I open doors,” she said. “I am in a way the very image of La Rochelle, rebellious, generous and liberated.
“Even if Mr Falorni reproaches me for not being La Rochelle born and bred – an argument one normally hears from the [far right] National Front – I am much more present on the scene than this man who has accused me of parachuting into a safe seat.”
Reacting to Trierweiler’s tweet on Tuesday, PS First Secretary Martine Aubry voiced her support for Royal in Sunday’s vote and said the whole of the party was behind her.
Visiting La Rochelle on Tuesday she said: “The only thing that matters is that Hollande is supporting Royal, and he is absolutely clear about that.”
Royal said she had no comment to make about Trierweiler’s post on Twitter.