No Royal Future For France?

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The socialist party candidate for the presidency of France, Segolene Royal, appears to be headed for a defeat, according to press reports. Even those who are supposedly in her corner appear to be writing her off as a lost cause.

Fellow Socialist and former Prime Minister Michel Rocard appeared Friday to admit as much when he suggested that only by teaming up with one of her rivals can Royal hope to beat conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, who has kept a step ahead of her in polls all year.

Time is running out for Royal to swing the many undecided voters her way: The first round of voting is April 22, with a run-off on May 6.

"The feeling today is that she's rather on the way to losing the election," said Dominique Reynie of Paris' elite Institute of Political Sciences. Her victory "seems less and less likely," added BVA Institute pollster Jerome Sainte-Marie.

Royal herself brushed off Rocard's suggestion that she and centrist Francois Bayrou join forces to keep out Sarkozy, a pro-American former minister.

"There will be no dealings on my part," she said.

Her worst enemy now may be the polls. Although they still place her second, some have also suggested that only Bayrou could rally enough voters to beat Sarkozy in a run-off. The trouble is Bayrou may never get that far. Polls place him third, which would not get him past the first round.

Rocard did not spell out how a Royal-Bayrou alliance might work in practice. But the fact that the Socialist Party elder — even a somewhat centrist one — suggested that she may not win alone was the latest sign that the election may be slipping from Royal's grasp.

"We must block the road to Sarkozy. It's urgent," Rocard told RTL radio. "I hope that Segolene will be strong enough, but I have the greatest doubt — looking at the polls — that she can win alone in the run-off. And the idea of running alone in these conditions seems to me to be extremely dangerous, almost suicidal."

I guess the bikini trick didn't work, eh? (I expect that her "motherly listening" skills (as the article points out later) are less effective than she had hoped. That or the voters looked at some of her ideas and figured she was completely out of her league – or mind.) The voting hasn't happened yet, so anything could happen. But things don't look too good for Royal at the moment.

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