Royal slams 'traitor' Trierweiler as French Socialists win election

Jun 18, 2012

President Hollande's ex, Segolene Royal, fails in bid to become MP, but French voters back anti-austerity Socialists

Getty Images

FRANCE'S SOCIALIST party has won an outright majority in parliamentary elections, giving president Francois Hollande the nation's backing to move away from austerity measures – but the second-round parliamentary elections brought disaster for his former partner and party colleague Segolene Royal.

With turnout at a historic low of 55.9 per cent, the BBC reports, the Socialists look set to win between 313 and 315 of the National Assembly's 577 seats. Recently-ousted president Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP saw its share fall from 304 seats to a likely 214.

The majority gives Hollande a clear mandate for his tax-and-spend programme, signifying the French public's desire for change. Hollande will now try to refocus EU fiscal policy away from austerity, while hiring more public sector workers.

Meanwhile, 58-year-old Royal failed in her bid to be elected as an MP in La Rochelle after a 'domestic' spat involving Hollande's new partner, 47-year-old Valerie Trierweiler, who publicly backed a rival candidate ahead of the election by wishing him luck on Twitter.

Royal and Hollande's three children are no longer on speaking terms with Trierweiler as a result, The Daily Telegraph reports. Hollande had broken a self-imposed rule of not backing individual candidates to offer his former partner his support in the run-up to yesterday's election, but his intervention was not enough.

Asked if the infamous tweet was to blame, Royal said: "It certainly did not help, to put it mildly." She then quoted Victor Hugo: "Traitors always pay for their treachery in the end."

Compounding the new president's first crisis, Royal issued a "thinly-veiled" warning to her former partner, reports The Times, saying she would "continue to weigh up on national politics" and suggesting she might stand to replace Martine Aubry as head of the Socialist Party.

It was a good election for the far-right National Front, who won their first seats for a quarter of a century, The Daily Telegraph reports. Twenty-two-year-old Marion Marechal-Le Pen became the republic's youngest MP in modern history, winning a seat for the anti-immigration party her grandfather founded.

The party won a second seat as well, but suffered disappointment when its leader, Marechal-Le Pen's aunt, Marine Le Pen, failed to win the seat she was contesting by a margin of just 118 votes, to a Socialist candidate.

Sign up for our daily newsletter