Though Segolene Royal has been the darling of the left since her rise to stardom over the past year, recent statements of hers have caused some awkward silences amongst collegues and forced others to choose their words a little more carefully. Royal's insistence that Iran must not be allowed a civilian nuclear program has generated the expected denunciation from the right, but also from somewhat closer to home. She has also just today condemed the "omnipotence" of the European Central Bank, though was careful not assail its independence. Francois Hollande, Royal's romantic partner, told a meeting of Socialist Party members at the European Socialist Party Congress in Portugal that "We must return to the spirit of the treaties before wanting to modify them." Left-wing presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Chevènement publicly asked Segolene Royal to clarify her foreign policy beliefs on the Middle East.
What one must wonder is what is causing Royal to take up positions that conflict with certain traditional party platforms. If she truly is a new kind of candidate, one who is unafraid to speak her mind and is not simply a party idealogue, then her comments are frankly a breath of fresh air, for God knows France needs a new direction. If Royal knows that she has the left secure behind her, and the distance she is creating with the left is only to steal Sarkozy votes, then the Socialist Party shouldn't be prematurely worried. But if that is the case, then shame on her.
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