Tuesday 20 March 2018

Segolene Royal: I 'felt murdered' by Valerie Trierweiler's twitter post

Valérie Trierweiler and Ségolène Royal
Valérie Trierweiler and Ségolène Royal

Henry Samuel

SEGOLENE Royal has said she felt "murdered" by First Lady Valerie Trierweiler's Twitter post backing her election rival for a parliamentary seat.

The mother of Francois Hollande's four children said she "demands respect" from his new girlfriend after her explosive tweet that sparked a war of words between the two women.

The 58-year old former presidential candidate said that she had not reacted in the heat of the moment because "the blow was so violent".

Tensions between the two women continued to spiral despite calls from Mr Hollande's Socialist Party to calm things down and change the subject ahead of Sunday's legislative elections, which the Left is tipped to win.

They followed an unprecedented reproach from Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault who told the First Lady to "know her place" and "remain discreet".

More than 24 hours after Miss Trierweiler's offending tweet, Miss Royal chose a political meeting in the western town of La Rochelle on Wednesday night to make her public reaction.

She said: "I did not want to react yesterday because the blow was so violent.

"But that does not mean I didn't feel murdered 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.

"As a female politician, I demand to be respected, just as the political support the president is giving me as a candidate should also be respected."

Miss Royal is standing for MP against dissident left-winger Olivier Falorni in La Rochelle. One poll suggests she will be trounced on Sunday as the Right has called on its supporters to back her rival.

The president, who has kept out of the parliamentary campaign, made an exception for his ex-girlfriend by lending her his official backing.

Reportedly furious at the move, Miss Trierweiler wrote on Twitter on Monday: "Good luck to Olivier Falorni who was not unworthy, who has fought for the people of La Rochelle for so many years with selfless commitment."

The opposition Right swiftly denounced the row as "Dallas at the Elysee Palace". They said France's new first couple were intolerably mixing private and personal lives and that the extraordinary tiff sounded the death knell to Mr Hollande's so-called "normal" presidency.

Mr Ayrault then reproached the First Lady by telling France Info radio: "(Miss Trierweiler's) role is a discreet one which is not easy to figure out. I can accept that beginnings are always a bit complicated, but everyone must keep to their place."

The prime minister also said President Hollande shared his view that "one should not mix one's public and private lives".

And he reiterated that Miss Royal had both his and the president's "full support" in her election battle against Mr Falorni.

Despite the growing political storm, twice-divorced Miss Trierweiler on Wednesday refused to apologise for the Tweet, saying it was "idiotic" to suggest she had acted out of jealousy of her boyfriend's former lover of 30 years.

She told RTL radio: "To speak of jealousy in this business is idiotic.

"I see no mixing of public and private lives here. Things should be put back into perspective. Everything has got out of all proportion."

Commentators warned on Thursday that Mr Hollande's inability to keep his private house in order could cost him dear politically, with Nouvel Observateur warning: "One can legitimately question his authority at the head of state."


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