French Presidential Campaign Picking Up Steam: Socialists Nominate Woman Candidate
Her name is Segolene Royal, but many just call her Sego. She has been selected by the French Socialist Party to represent them in next year's election and was chosen by a rather large margin (over 60% of the vote) over two male rivals.
Socialists are not new to the Presidential Palace, Francois Mitterand was elected to the post in 1981. But never has a woman held the office and never has a woman had such a realistic chance to attain such a feat.
Her likely closest rival will be Nicolas Sarkozy, a very pro-American politician that will probably represent the largest challenge. (The French have an affinity for shortening names and refer to him as Sarko.) Right now polls are showing a dead heat, between the two.
Now as you may guess, the world media is already intrigued by her candidacy:
CNN International is using her name and the name of John F. Kennedy in the same breath.
Echoing a famous speech of John F. Kennedy, Segolene Royal urged voters to embrace change on Friday after a sweeping victory in a Socialist primary bolstered her quest to become France's first woman president.
Royal told French voters she had a vision of a united nation that faced the future boldly without reneging on its values.
"Today I call on all French people, the men and women of our country, to unite, to mobilize, to ask yourselves what you can do for our country," she said in a speech in the western Poitou-Charentes region she runs.
Deutsche-Welle implies that her candidacy is comparable to a new French revolution.
Europe's center-left parties and the media on Friday hailed as a "revolution" the choice by French socialists of Segolene Royal as their party's candidate for the April 2007 presidential election.
The LA Times calls her a populist with style.
The victory of Segolene Royal in France's Socialist Party presidential primary was a case of personality outweighing policy, analysts said Friday.
Her positions throughout the campaign were vague and sometimes even naive. But with a soaring smile, well-coiffed hair and a willingness to mix traditional Socialist views with popular rhetoric, she overcame her more pedantic party foes.
Besides the universal agreement that she is one good-looking lady that emanates charm and charisma, almost all of the op-ed and article writers are in agreement in their assessments of her candidacy. And while they all feel she is long on visual aesthetics, they also feel she is short on specifics on the issues that France is facing and will be facing, in the future.
Dutch Government Proposing To Ban Burkas
In a move that would most definitely come under much scrutiny here in the U.S., the Dutch government is proposing a ban on burkas due to security issues.
NIJMEGEN, The Netherlands: Five days before a national election here, the center-right government announced Friday that it planned to introduce legislation to ban burkas and similar garments in public places, saying the full- body garb worn by a small number of Muslim women in the Netherlands posed a grave security threat, both to the country's security forces and to its citizens.
The Netherlands has been considering such a move for months, in reaction to the burka and other clothing that hides the wearer's face and eyes. To some degree the government worries that a terrorist might put one on to get beyond security checks and carry out an attack.
Can you imagine the outcry from the progressives and outfits like the ACLU and CAIR, if Congress were to do something like this?
I do not disagree with this in principle, but am somewhat ambivalent due to my desire for all religions to be free to practice their religion, no matter how outlandish I may view their dogmas. It's a slippery slope that may come back to bite us all, someday. But yet, on the other hand, the state does have the duty to protect their citizens. With a rise in female suicide bombers, it makes good sense from a security standpoint.
It's a tough call, PYY will be watching this one closely.