Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Ségolène Royal goes hard left to recover in polls.

Politics: Good luck with that as she proves the center's position she is all about the pandering.

Ségolène Royal has staged a sharp lurch towards the old-fashioned left after her campaign for the presidency was eclipsed by the vigorous efforts of Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right candidate.

After months of wooing middle-ground voters with a soft, inclusive vision, Ms Royal depicted herself as a victim of right-wing forces and champion of the workers in the face of a ruthless capitalist class.

She told a packed hall in central Paris: “We are fighting a hard Right, without principles, without virtue, an arrogant Right which . . . never varies on its aim: the defence of its privileges.” The “ruling establishment” had sought to destroy her campaign with dirty tricks and skulduggery, she said.

Ms Royal’s aggressive relaunch is an attempt to appeal to core left-wing voters and galvanise her party after gaffes and vagueness on policy eroded the invincible aura of last year. As Mr Sarkozy has pulled ahead by up to six points in polls, many Royal sympathisers have turned to François Bayrou, a centrist who is catching up the main candidates as the April 22 first-round vote nears.

While Ms Royal may restore her momentum, she has lost credibility with middle-class voters, who were charmed by the way that she opened her campaign with direct language and promises to listen.

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