Go to contents

[Opinion] Marie Segolene Royal

Posted February. 14, 2007 07:57,   


There is no TV program that resembles the Korean program “Hidden Camera” in France, but there is a similar radio program. A comedian, who is the host, calls famous figures pretending to be somebody else and asks questions on social issues or daily lives, and then the whole conversation is aired. French people are eager to listen to the program that divulges the blunt ability of social leaders. This was a program that gave a hard time to the candidate from the Socialist Party, Segolene Royal, who is running to be the first French female president.

Comedian Gerald Dahan, who has succeeded in deceiving French President Jacques Chirac and football player Zinedine Zidane in the past, called Segolene Royal last week pretending to be Quebec Premier Jean Charest and talked on the phone for 11 minutes speaking French with an English accent. Dahan made idle remarks mentioning the independence movement of Corsica, and Royal ended up letting out words that she was not against the independence of Quebec. This was a wild mistake that took not only Canadians but also the French by surprise.

Royal, who as been criticized as being “all image and no content,” recently presented 100 campaign pledges. Included are the construction of 120,000 houses subsidized by the government, raising the minimum wage ceiling, the enlargement of the resignation pension by 5% for the low income bracket, increasing loans without interest, and creating 500,000 social jobs. But nothing is mentioned about measures or action plans to raise the necessary budget funds. She had said she would adjust the 35-hour workweek system and increase the number of hours, but soon changed her words and says she will maintain the system as it is.

Her campaign pledges are a rehash of the socialistic welfare model and target youth in their 20s who suffer from chronic joblessness. Her strategy aims to absorb these discontent youths into the Socialist Party.

Royal, who has been living with the first secretary of the Socialist Party François Hollande, a classmate of hers from the École Nationale d`Administration, and who has given birth to four children, is a typical French character who gives more importance to existence rather than form. She has been showing an ambiguous attitude, but has taken a stand in the approaching election with a leftward turn. This closely resembles the presidential election in Korea four years ago.

Chung Seong-hee, Editorial Writer, shchung@donga.com