Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 5267 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 06PARIS7424, SEGOLENE ROYAL'S VICTORY MOVES HER CLOSER TO

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #06PARIS7424.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06PARIS7424 2006-11-17 14:02 2010-12-01 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO2415
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHFR #7424/01 3211434
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 171434Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3171
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 PARIS 007424 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPT ALSO FOR EUR/WE, DRL/IL, INR/EUC, EUR/ERA, EUR/PPD, 
AND EB 
DEPT OF COMMERCE FOR ITA 
DEPT OF LABOR FOR ILAB 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2016 
TAGS: PGOV ELAB EU FR PINR SOCI ECON
SUBJECT: SEGOLENE ROYAL'S VICTORY MOVES HER CLOSER TO 
PRESIDENCY 


Classified By: Ambassador Craig Stapleton for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 

SUMMARY 
------- 
1. (C) SUMMARY: Segolene Royal's overwhelming first-round 
victory in the November 16 Socialist Party (PS) presidential 
primary makes it official -- she will be the candidate of the 
center-left in next year's presidential election, likely in a 
tight race against the center-right's Nicolas Sarkozy. The 
win is a testament to Royal's ability to confound France's 
purveyors of conventional political wisdom and her own party 
establishment. Both regularly underestimated her and 
discounted her ability to go the distance. Royal's success 
has been her ability -- as a Blair-like socialist -- to deal 
with issues non-ideologically through the prism of their 
impact on ordinary people, with a focus on concrete, 
operational proposals that she is willing to jettison if they 
prove unworkable. 

2. (C) SUMMARY CONT. Royal has demonstrated these same 
traits in the foreign affairs arena, where her recent 
statements in support of the democratic government in Iraq 
and against even a civilian nuclear program in Iran were met 
with condescension by elites, but seem not to have hurt her 
with PS voters. If she were to be elected President, we 
would expect criticism of U.S. "unilateralism", environmental 
policies, and more. But her years working in Mitterrand's 
Elysee also portend an openness to pragmatic cooperation with 
the U.S. End Summary. 

THE PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS 
---------------------------- 
3. (C) On November 16, in an overwhelming vote of confidence 
in her ability to win, over 60 percent of PS party members 
endorsed Segolene Royal as their party's candidate in the 
2007 presidential race. Of the 176,220 votes cast by PS 
party members throughout metropolitan France, Royal received 
106,839, former Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 
36,714 former Prime Minister Laurent Fabius 32,667. Ever 
since Royal launched her bid for the presidency, France's 
purveyors of conventional political wisdom have been 
discounting her ability to go the distance. Royal has proved 
them wrong each time. The Sarkozy camp now understands it 
will be facing a formidable opponent, whom they would 
underestimate at their own peril. Throughout the race, Royal 
displayed the energy, conviction, charisma, and physical 
stamina that have made her a leading contender to be elected 
France's next president. 

A FIFTY PERCENT CHANCE OF BEING FRANCE'S 
---------------------------------------- 
NEXT PRESIDENT 
-------------- 
4. (C) Royal's clear-cut victory in the first-round of the 
PS primary election confirms her as the unchallenged leader 
of the center-left in France. It sets up a showdown between 
her and Interior Minister Sarkozy for France's presidency in 
2007. Analysts agree that if the dominance of the 
presidential field by these two major candidates holds, the 
second round run-off between them will be very, very close. 
Though the unexpected -- including major missteps by these 
leading candidates during their campaigns -- could still 
reconfigure the electoral landscape, dislodging one or the 
other becomes more and more difficult as the election draws 
nearer. 

FUSING HER POPULARITY (AND HER CURRENT 
-------------------------------------- 
ORGANIZATION) WITH HER PARTY 
----------------------------- 
5. (C) Royal's primary victory gives her allies in the PS 
unchallenged control of the party apparatus. Party chief 
Francois Hollande, who is also Royal's long-time domestic 
partner, will be instrumental in putting the party fully in 
the service of Royal's campaign. The next step for Royal is 
"making the party headquarters my campaign headquarters." 
According to one of her closest allies in the party 
hierarchy, her campaign strategy projects two key lines of 
action: "continuing to be what has made her popular," while 
bringing to bear the party's electioneering expertise and 
energizing the party's dense network of elected officials 
throughout the country. 

6. (C) Royal's upcoming campaign will continue to feature 

PARIS 00007424 002 OF 003 


the personal characteristics on which her popularity is 
founded, while also working to improve some of her weaknesses 
as a candidate. She has shown a vulnerability to getting 
rattled during TV appearances or before hostile publics. 
Because she has not had top-level experience in some issue 
areas, particularly foreign affairs, deepening her command of 
these briefs will be a top priority. 

THE CORE OF THE "SEGOLENE PHENOMENON" 
------------------------------------- 
7. (C) PS Party spokesman and long time Royal ally Julian 
Dray recently enumerated to us the four personal 
characteristics that make Royal so popular. They are the key 
elements of "the Segolene story" that connects so powerfully 
with such a wide electorate. 
-- First, "She's a mom." Royal has raised four children with 
Hollande. That experience, according to Dray, "gives 
ordinary people confidence" that she might be genuinely 
caring towards them also -- very different from the 
subliminal sentiments towards ordinary people associated with 
members of France's aloof and inbred political class. 
-- Second, "She has a successful marriage." Even though 
Royal and Hollande have never legally married, their 
long-standing relationship is viewed as an exemplary "success 
in love" -- and people admire that, wishing for the same in 
their own lives. 
-- Third, "She's a beautiful woman." This element of novelty 
and of gender equality -- with a touch of feminist revanchism 
in an electorate that is 53 percent female thrown in -- are 
part and parcel of Royal's success. 
-- Finally, "She's highly competent." Royal has 
distinguished herself through her professional achievements. 
Her rise -- notwithstanding her family's modest means and 
very traditionalist social values (i.e. women become wives, 
not presidents) -- through France's witheringly competitive 
educational meritocracy, are recognized by voters as those of 
an extraordinary individual, worthy of consideration for 
France's highest office. 

CRITICAL OF U.S. APPROACH, YET OFTEN 
------------------------------------ 
STILL IN SYNCH ON SUBSTANCE 
--------------------------- 
8. (C) Royal, as is to be expected from the standard bearer 
of France's center-left Socialist Party, can be quite direct, 
even harsh in her assessments of U.S. foreign policy 
initiatives. As is the case nearly across the board -- left 
and right -- among the members of France's political class, 
Royal has made clear that she opposed the U.S.-led invasion 
of Iraq in 2003, and what she saw as the high-handed U.S. 
dismissal of multilateral, UN-led efforts to defuse the 
crisis. However, in some of her more recent statements on 
Iraq, Royal has clearly broken with the conventional wisdom 
in France, particularly that of the French left. After a 
meeting with Iraqi president Jalal Talibabi in Paris last 
November 3, Royal told reporters that, despite all the 
problems there, Iraq "is getting back on its feet." She 
underlined that the Iraqi government, "not outsiders" should 
decide "when the time has come" for withdrawal of foreign 
forces from the country. Reflecting her penchant for seeing 
war and peace problems in terms of their effect on the lives 
of everyday people first (rather than in terms of balance of 
power among states, regional stability, etc.), Royal stressed 
the importance of "a swift reconstruction of that country, 
which was so ravaged by dictatorship, so that the Iraqi 
people who have suffered so so much (emphasis hers) might 
recover their dignity and their self-confidence, and desire 
to get back on the road to success." 

9. (C) Repeatedly, in her pronouncements on international 
issues, Royal has insisted on the legitimacy and pre-eminence 
of the U.N. in acting against threats to international peace 
and security. Royal's statements on the conflict in Lebanon 
last summer, for example, reflected the view that ending the 
suffering of the conflict's civilian casualties (on both 
sides) should be the first priority, addressed by an 
immediate cease-fire, to be followed by UN-mediated 
disengagement, and the disarming of Hezbollah. In addition, 
she proposed that former President Clinton be considered as a 
special UN mediator for the conflict. A Royal advisor 
pointed to this proposal as illustrative of her inclination 
to personalize political issues. Royal's reaction to the 
Israel-Hezbollah confrontation -- seeing the crisis first and 
foremost through the prism of its impact on ordinary people, 

PARIS 00007424 003 OF 003 


while advocating the empowerment of the UN to seek a 
longer-term solution -- reflect what is likely to be Royal's 
approach to international conflicts. In Dray's words, spoken 
as a close friend of Royal's for many years, "She's not 
interested in the theory, and approaches problems in terms of 
what's being proposed to solve them." If true, this would 
certainly represent a refreshing break from the ingrained 
French preference for the theoretical over the empirical. 

10. (C) In her recent statements specifically about the 
U.S., Royal has not been shy about criticizing what she has 
repeatedly termed the "attitude" of the U.S. -- America's 
willingness to act outside of the consensus of the 
international community. Royal's America-bashing however, 
concerns more the form of U.S. policy than its substance. In 
fact, to the extent she has expressed herself on them, her 
views on some key issues are in fact quite close to those of 
the U.S. A striking example of this is the way Royal has 
been the most outspoken of France's major political figures 
about the danger posed by Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. 
She has spoken explicitly about the threat to Israel's 
existence of nuclear weapons in the hands of the current 
Iranian leadership, and has gone so far as to suggest that 
Iran's civil nuclear program, because it is a stepping-stone 
to a weapons program, is illegitimate in light of Iran's 
reneging on its non-proliferation obligations. 

COMMENT 
------- 
11. (C) If elected -- and that is a big if that is still a 
long way down the road -- Royal appears to be someone who 
would approach world affairs pragmatically and would seek to 
maintain a close, if critical, relationship with the U.S. 
There may be a fresh opportunity for Washington policy makers 
to take her measure if, as we know her staff is considering, 
she goes through with plans to visit the U.S. at some point 
before the end of January, when the presidential campaign 
begins in earnest. End Comment. 
Please visit Paris' Classified Website at: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/paris/index.c fm 
STAPLETON