8th Feb 2023

Woman leads in French presidential polls

Centre-left politician Segolene Royal came out top in a new poll on France's 2007 presidential elections, as French voters explore the idea of electing their first ever woman president.

According to a survey unveiled in Le Figaro daily on Thursday (21 April), Ms Royal would win 34 percent of the votes, closely followed by the current interior minister and president of the ruling UMP party, Nicolas Sarkozy, with 30 percent.

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Between the two frontrunners - as if in the second round of elections - Ms Royal would beat Mr Sarkozy by 51 to 49 percent.

Neither of the leading candidates has been officially chosen by their parties yet and both are facing strong competition.

But support for Ms Royal has jumped well above the rates of her socialist rivals, with a different poll listing other potential leftwing hopefuls as Lionel Jospin (23%), Jack Lang (22%), Dominique Strauss-Kahn (18%) and Laurent Fabius (15%).

One of Ms Royal's socialist rivals could also be her partner and father of her four children Francois Hollande, the party secretary.

Experts explain the secret of the popularity of Ms Royal - a former environment minister and current president of the Poitou-Charentes region in the south-west of France – as being due to her colourful character and a successful campaign, mainly on the internet.

She has launched her own website where French citizens can send their views and contribute to the content of the presidential campaign which is key at a time when people feel top politicians are not listening to them, according to Stanislas Magniant, from, a French political website.

"She is using a queen bee strategy. You have a site and the whole blogosphere of Segolenites are linking to it and creating a buzz around it. Everyone is talking about her and her programme," Mr Magniant told the Financial Times.

The Figaro poll also places far-right politician Jean Marie Le Pen (10%) ahead of incumbent preim minister Dominique de Villepin (6%), whose popularity nosedivied during recent job law reform riots.

If Ms Royal carries next year's election, she would join neighbouring Germany as one of two major EU states with women in power.

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