Royal feels 'wounded' by French first lady's tweet
The mother of Francois Hollande's four children has said she felt "wounded" by his new partner's tweet that has prompted a spat between the two women.
Segolene Royal, the president's former partner, said she demanded "respect" from the first lady, Valerie Trierweiler, in her first public response to Ms Trierweiler's Twitter post that backed her election rival for a parliamentary seat.
The 58-year-old former presidential candidate said she had not reacted in the heat of the moment because "the blow was so violent".
Tensions between the women escalated despite calls for calm from Mr Hollande's Socialist Party before Sunday's legislative elections, which the Left is tipped to win.
The row has overshadowed the campaign and called into question Mr Hollande's leadership qualities. It led to a reproach from the prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Ms Royal hit back during a political meeting in La Rochelle on Wednesday. "I did not want to react yesterday because the blow was so violent," she said. "But that does not mean I didn't feel wounded by it, I am not a robot.
"I demand respect as the mother of a family whose children hear what is said. I didn't want to respond in the heat of the moment because I am fighting a tough political battle and I need to stay in a good state of mind."
Ms Royal is standing for MP against the dissident left-winger Olivier Falorni. One poll suggests she will be trounced on Sunday as the Right has called on its supporters to back her rival.
Mr Hollande, who has kept out of the campaign, made an exception for his ex-girlfriend by lending her his official support.
This reportedly infuriated Ms Trierweiler, who was quoted by 'Le Point' as telling her partner: "You took a stand for Royal without telling me. You'll see what I'm capable of!" Minutes later she fired off a tweet wishing "good luck" to Ms Royal's rival and praising his "selfless commitment".
As Socialists reportedly pleaded with Ms Trierweiler to close her Twitter account, Mr Hollande is said to have asked friends to help keep her in check. (© Daily Telegraph, London)