Sunday, December 10, 2006

Royal picks off one challenger

The Citizen and Republican Movement has announced that its candidate, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, will withdraw from the presidential race. After entering the race Chevènement was criticized by Socialist party members for wishing to fracture the left vote. They feared a repeat of the last election in 2002, when the Socialiast candidate Lionel Jospin never made the second round of voting. Chevènement was polling in single digits, so this should not have any drastic effects, but it will certainly be reassuring to some on the left. In the coming week the UMP will hold its second debate and center candidate Francois Bayrou will begin campaigning, so the spotlight will be shifting slightly from the Socialists. That's good news so early in the race, because unlike in business, any publicity is not always good publicity.

Update: At the party convention today, Chevènement told the audience that, "Nobody forced me to be a candidate. Nobody forces me to withdraw my candidature. I do it in full conscience to open the way with a positive dynamism in the first [election] round." Contrary to reports earlier, Segolene Royal was not in the room during his announcement, though she received the support of 84% of the Citizen and Republican Movement party's members.

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