Royal - Hollande breakup
The first secretary of the
Socialist party and the party's presidential candidate split up
Article added on June 19, 2007
It is no more a secret in France,
the first secretary of the Socialist party and the Socialist presidential
candidate have split up. The breakup of the couple Royal - Hollande is of
course not only political - with the former trying to get the job of the
latter. The real life couple of 30 years - they had met at the elite
university ENA in 1978 and have four children together - are no longer
partners in private either.
Months of speculation have ended on Sunday evening, June 17, 2007 after the
second round of the parliamentary election.
Because her de facto husband - they were never officially married -
has an affair with the journalist Valérie Trierweiler, Ségolène Royal asked François Hollande
to move out of their flat.
The story was about to break anyway because the information about the
separation of the couple Royal - Hollande was included in a book to be
published on June 20:
Ségolène Royal. Les coulisses d'une défaite - Behind the Scenes of a Defeat. Ségolène On June 8, 2007 Royal herself
had confessed it to the AFP journalists and authors of the book Christine
Courcel and Thierry Masure.
In October 2006, the couple Royal - Hollande had intervened in the matter of
an article published by the French newspaper Le Parisien, which had
quoted a friend saying that Royal threatened Hollande to never be able to
see his children again if he supported former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin
as the party's candidate for the presidential election, as was his
intention. In other words, Hollande's support for Royal was the price to pay
for his infidelity. The couple continued to deny that they had split.
After the revelation of June 17, 2007 the Socialist party leader François
Hollande stressed that the split was a private matter that was "not caused
by politics and will not have political consequences". The contrary is true.
It had mattered during the presidential campaign of Ségolène Royal and it
matters for the future of the Socialist party.
Royal (53) and Hollande (52) have four children aged between 22 and 14:
Thomas, Clemence, Julien and Flora. Their family life is their private
matter. However, the de facto break-up had appeared earlier - we do not know
when - and has perturbed the Socialist electoral campaign more than once.
During the selection process within the Socialist party, not only Ségolène
Royal's rivals, Laurent Fabius and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, questioned
whether the party leader Hollande was able to handle the selection of the
Socialist presidential candidate in a fair and unbiased way.
After Royal was chosen by the party's members to represent the Socialists,
the couple Royal - Hollande showed more than once a lack of communication.
Arnaud Montebourg, Royal's spokesman and campaign advisers, said on January
17, 2007 (only half-way) jokingly, Royal's only
weak point was her partner, her de facto husband Hollande.
The tensions between Royal and Hollande and the lack of communication
between them led to serious political frictions regarding future Socialist
policies as well as the political strategy. Hollande, together with Fabius
and Strauss-Kahn, was opposed to Royal's overtures towards the Centrist
candidate Bayrou as well as to Royal's plans for France's future fiscal
policies; Eric Besson, her main economic adviser,
resigned, later defected to Sarkozy's team and finally ended up as new Prime
Minister Fillon's state secretary for prospectives and evaluation of public
In the book La Femme fatale, published on May 11, 2007, the journalists Raphaëlle Bacqué
and Ariane Chemin of France's quality newspaper Le Monde wrote that
presidential candidacy of Ségolène Royal was the consequence of a marital
conflict within the couple Royal - Hollande. Without saying it explicitly,
the authors suggested that an
“extramarital” (the couple was never married) affair by Hollande was
Royal's principal motivation to run for
president. As late as March 28, 2007, in the book
Maintenant, Ségolène Royal
denied all the rumors about a split and affirmed that they were still living
Royal et Hollande are now openly political rivals. Ségolène Royal
affirmed her will to become the next Socialist party chief and she asked for
an extraordinary party congress to be held in 2007. Her ex-partner François
Hollande on the other side repeated his intention to remain party chief
until the next party congress scheduled for as late as October 2008. Months
of Socialist infighting may lay ahead of us.
Added on June 21, 2007
According to Le Monde, regarding
Hollande's demand to raise the minimum wage (SMIC) to 1500 Euros, Royal said
to a journalist that this is
“an unrealizable idiocy.” According to the same newspaper, Hollande judged in
private that Royal
“is not ready” for the post of president and that it bothered him that he was
taken apart from her presidential campaign.
On June 29, 2006 in a train to Rennes, Royal said to journalists that she
dreamed of à marriage with Hollande in Polynesia. Asked about this, Hollande
replied that he had no knowledge about it (“pas au courant”).
After the first round of the presidential election 2007, Royal confessed to the
media that she had left a vocal message on François Bayrou's answering
machine. Hollande's sarcastic comment:
“In a telephone democracy, everyone can call whomever they want”.