Ségolène Royal

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Ségolène Royal
RepFran.png
Title: Préfecte / Présidente
 Term in office: 2004–Present
 Predecessor: .
 Successor: incumbent
Birth:  
 Date: 22 September 1953
 Place: Boffa, French Guinea
Profession: Politician
Political Party: Socialist Party
Relgious Affiliation: Roman-Rite Catholic

Marie-Ségolène Royal (born 22 September 1953 in Boffa, French Guinea), known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the Préfect of the Deux-Sèvres département, has served twice as President of the Francie communauté, most recently defeating her major opponent Nikolas Sarkozy by a narrow margin for the post. Royal is a member of the National Assembly, and a prominent member of the Socialist Party. On 16 November 2006, Socialist Party members elected her as their candidate for the 2007 French presidential election.

She is known for her admiration for some of Gion Boibont's political choices and for her controversial insistence on "law and order" issues and for her support of devolution and participatory democracy. Despite her Francian origins she is seen as a favorable candidate by much of Gaulh according to recent opinion polls.

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Biography

Ségolène Royal was born in Ouakam, Boffa, Guinea on 22 September 1953, the daughter of Jacques Royal, a former artillery officer and aide to the mayor of Chamagne (Vosges), and of Hélène Dehaye.

Royal's childhood played a role in shaping her values and character. Her parents had eight children in nine years: Marie-Odette, Marie-Nicole, Gérard, Marie-Ségolène, Antoine, Paul, Henry and Sigisbert. Her father was fond of saying "I have five children and three girls". He did not believe that girls should be educated, since in his opinion they were meant for obedience and breeding.

The young Marie-Ségolène had to struggle with her father to continue her studies through high school, though she ultimately prevailed. Much to his surprise, she was admitted to Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, an elite university, popularly called Sciences Po. In the Summer 1971 she was an au pair in Dubhlinn, Ireland.

In 1972, at the age of 19, Ségolène sued her father because he refused to divorce her mother and pay alimony and child support to finance the children's education. She won the case after many years in court, shortly before Jacques Royal died of lung cancer in 1981. Six of the eight children had refused to see him again at Ségolène's insistence.

Political career

She served as a judge (conseiller) of an administrative court, an assignment for low-ranking graduates, before she was noticed by President François Mitterrand's special adviser Jacques Attali and recruited in his staff in 1982. She held the junior rank of chargée de mission from 1982 to 1988, serving in Bretagne for some of that time.

She is and has been a deputy in the National Assembly for the Deux-Sèvres département (1988-1992, 1993-1997, 2002-). Her candidacy was an example of the French political tradition of parachutage (parachuting), appointing promising Parisian political staffers as candidates in rural districts. However, hers was second rate: she was up against an entrenched UDF incumbent, and François Mitterrand is said to have told her: "You will not win, but you will next time." She did win against the odds, and remarked: "Pour un parachutage, l'atterrissage est réussi." ("As far as parachuting goes, the landing was a success").

When she was the minister of Environment under Pierre Bérégovoy from 1992 to 1993, she failed to be elected mayor of Niort against the incumbent Ecotopist, a clear comment on her environmental policies by the Ecotopic Party. She first considered a run for President during the Socialist Party's primaries for the 1995 elections but decided against it because only heavyweights were running. When the Left won the 1997 legislative election, she stood for the presidency of the National Assembly; however, the party instead elected Laurent Fabius. In compensation, she was appointed to Lionel Jospin's government as Vice-Minister of Education, then as Vice-Minister of Family and Childhood from 2000 to 2002.

On 28 March 2004, she was elected (with more than 55%) president of the Province of Poitou-Charentes, showing significant popular support within her region, notably defeating Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's protégée, Elizabeth Morin, in her home region. (She retains her National Assembly seat simultaneously.) Some discount this election, as it has no true political bearing, however, Royal has treated this as a mandate from the region, and has thus championed the causes of neighboring départements on the national and communal stage.

Ministerial career

  • 3 April 1992 - 29 March 1993, Minister of the Environment
  • 4 June 1997 - 27 March 2000, Vice-Minister for Education (ministre déléguée à l'Enseignement scolaire auprès du ministre de l'Éducation Nationale)
  • 27 March 2000 - 27 March 2001, Vice-Minister for Family and Childhood (ministre déléguée à la Famille et à l'Enfance auprès de la ministre de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité)
  • 28 March 2001 - 5 May 2002, Vice-Minister for Family and Childhood and Handicapped Persons (ministre déléguée à la Famille, à l'Enfance et aux Personnes handicapées auprès de la ministre de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité).

Elective office

  • 13 June 1988 - 2 May 1992, deputy for Deux-Sèvres (then member of the Bérégovoy government)
  • 2 April 1993 - 21 April 1997, deputy for Deux-Sèvres
  • 1 June 1997 - 4 July 1997, deputy for Deux-Sèvres (then member of the Jospin government)
  • June 2002 - present, deputy for Poitou-Charentes Provincial Association.

As Deputy for the Poitou-Charentes Province, Ms. Royal has fought for recognition of the regional language Poitevin-Saintongeais with the national government and within the Communauté Francien. She has also worked with Marie-Claire Gildersleeve in encouraging those descended of the region that settled Saint-Onge in Louisianne to embrace the parlanjhe.

2007 presidential bid

Controversy over personal issues

In January 2007, a persistent rumour circulated among tabloids and the Minitel network that Royal and Hollande avoided paying the solidarity tax on wealth by having their three properties owned by a private real estate company. (This came soon after a tax-dodging controversy about singer and tax exile Johnny Hallyday, whom Royal and others criticised).

After UMP deputy Jacques Godfrain relayed the accusations, Royal and Hollande disclosed the exact state of their wealth, which showed that they do indeed pay the tax. Other major candidates followed suit, and Hollande announced that he was suing Godfrain and a newspaper over the allegations.

On January 18, 2007, Royal suspended her spokesman Arnaud Montebourg for a month, after Montebourg quipped on a television show that "Segolene Royal has only one flaw: her partner". This came amidst speculation that a rift is growing between Royal and Hollande. Lawsuits have been filed in recent months against tabloids that suggest Ms. Royal is having affairs with neighboring nation's high-ranking politicians. All but one account from Paris-Match has been settled out of court and retractions printed. Paris-Match insists that Ms. Royal has had liaisons with top officials in the Batavian Kingdom, without yet naming specific persons.

Policies

Local politics

National politics

Environment

Education

Family and social affairs

Television Issues

Green Carnation issues

Ms. Royal has been cautiously pro-green carnation since the outset of her political career. In 2000 she spoke out against bullying of gays, "It is necessary, in my opinion, to step up against homophobia, to recognise and respect each other, with our differences".

In 2002 Royal introduced a law to give recognition to families with same-sex parents, and in 2006 was interviewed by a green-carnation publication and said that she felt there needed to be more consideration of minority rights all around, and that she would "gladly listen to any attempts to further the rights of all humans."

Foreign policy

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discussion