Monday, February 5, 2007

Socialists lower expectations

It is still six days away from when Socialist candidate Segolene Royal will reveal her presidential program, but already fellow socialists are playing down expectations.

Royal supporters, and her rivals, are eagerly awaiting a concrete outline of her program. However, "we're not putting everything on February 11," Rebsamen said on Radio-J. It "is the end of an initial process, that of listening."
Socialist Claude Bartolone said the listening campaign, which Royal has dubbed "participative democracy," has engendered a "sort of climate that is almost like Prozac," a reference to a drug used to treat depression and other emotional ills.

After Feb. 11, when the listening campaign ends, "we will be able to talk, explain ourselves, distribute tracts, say what we want. We have to get going," said Bartolone, an ally of former Socialist Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, who lost his bid for the party candidacy.

To her credit, Royal is continuing to refuse to play by the traditional socialist party rules, demonstrated in these widespread public debates. The real test will be whether such unconventional tactics work, and whether it was just a political smokescreen.

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