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BREAKING NEWS
November 17, 2006
Socialists Back Woman in Race to Lead France
Ségolène Royal moved a step closer to becoming the first female president of France early Friday, crushing her two male rivals for the Socialist Party nomination in next April’s election.

With most of the vote in, Ms. Royal, 53, a regional president and former minister, won 60.6 percent of the vote of the party’s nearly 219,000 members in an unusual primary.

The victory helped validate Ms. Royal’s standing as the only candidate capable of beating the right’s frontrunner, Nicolas Sarkozy, the Interior Minister who is seeking his UMP party’s nomination for the 2007 presidential election.

Ms. Royal’s victory followed months of mudslinging and maneuvering in a campaign that pitted her against the party’s older, more established — and male — “elephants,” whom she had dared to challenge.

Campaigning on a platform of “rupture” with the status quo, she has also capitalized on her femininity while accusing her competitors of chauvinism. “Gazelles,” she said last May, “run faster than elephants.”

Responding to voters’ disillusionment with traditional elitist politics, she is promising more power to the people, giving local governments more authority, subsidizing small businesses, creating affordable housing and encouraging citizens to submit their ideas online, for example.

Even her opponents agree that her looks help. Published photos of her in a bikini while on vacation underscored her youthfulness and glamour, while in poll after poll, her telegenic smile and elegant profile have appealed to a French public yearning for a new style of leadership.
The New York Times


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Disillusion Rules as French Vote for Sexy Challenger
Category: POLITICS
By: Pete Kendall, November 17, 2006
On a major trend basis, it's becoming increasingly a women's world. We had the feminist movement in the 1970s, more women heading into the work force and so on. I mean, maybe at the bottom we’ll see another Joan of Arc or something.
Prechter’s Perspective

bikini We just covered this trend on November 8 when Nancy Pelosi and a growing contingent of female colleagues captured high offices in the U.S. government, but Segolene Royal’s extraordinary drive toward the French presidency bears watching. The race, which will be decided next spring, is currently a dead heat between Royal and conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy.

Socionomcally speaking, Royal looks more like the front runner. A bearish turn toward the Joan Of Arc effect discussed in Prechter Perspective is visible through the course of her just completed campaign. Calling her “naïve and inexperienced,” opponents openly “mocked her proposal to create ‘citizens’ juries to pass judgment on the work of elected officials.” When she defended herself with the following comment her opponents probably thought they had her: "Democracy is like love. The more there is of it, the more it grows.”  The comment played right into their charges of naivety. If one of them had said it, it certainly would have  been percieved that way. But Royal can get away with it for the same reason she would have been laughed at in a bull market -- she's a woman. French voters are ready for the "rupture," and, EWI has long argued, female sensibilities appeal to a more bearish electorate. The big shift is visible in the magazine spread shown above. Initially, opponents were hoping her “unabashedly feminine attire” would “dent her credibility,” but by the end of the election, she was being “criticized by her rivals for playing the woman card.” Talk about a turn in the social order; what was once an insurmountable liability is now an unfair advantage.

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