Ségolène Royal



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Ségolène Royal is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the Socialist Party. On 16 November 2006, Socialist Party members elected her as their candidate for the 2007 French presidential election. She was the first woman in France to be nominated for President by a major party. In the first round of voting in that election, on 22 April 2007, Royal received 25.87% of votes to qualify for the second round to face Nicolas Sarkozy who received 31.18%. She was the first woman in the history of France to got this far in the French presidential election.

Ségolène Royal, like most of France’s political elite, is a graduate of the École Nationale d’Administration (ENA). After graduating in 1980, she elected to serve as a judge (conseiller) of an administrative court before she was noticed by President François Mitterrand’s special adviser Jacques Attali and recruited to his staff in 1982. She held the junior rank of chargée de mission from 1982 to 1988. She worked on issues related to culture and education and was then entrusted with foreign policy issues, especially related to the Middle East. On impulse she decided to become a candidate for the 1988 legislative election: she registered in the rural, Western Deux-Sèvres Département.

Her candidacy was an example of the French political tradition of parachutage (parachuting), appointing promising ‘Parisian’ political staffers as candidates in provincial districts to test their mettle. After this election, she served as representative in the National Assembly for the Deux-Sèvres département (1988-1992, 1993-1997, 2002-2007). During her ministerial career she was in 1992 the Minister of the Environment, from 1997 to 2000 the Vice-Minister of Education, from 2000 to 2001 Vice-Minister for Family and Chidhood and Disabled People.

On 28 March 2004, Ségolène Royal was elected (with more than 55% of the votes) president (‘State Governor’) of the region Poitou-Charentes, notably defeating Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s protégée, Élisabeth Morin, in his home region. She kept her National Assembly seat until June 2007, when she chose not to run in the legislative election, in agreement with one of her presidential campaign’s promises. She organized a run-off between two contenders; the winner, Delphine Batho, went on to win the district for her and Royal’s party.

Throughout her career, Ségolène Royal is firmly committed to making the most concrete political actions possible. It was her commitment to the origin of symbolic reforms that have marked the evolution of society:

  • The creation of the Handischool plan to enable children and youth with disabilities to attend regular adjusted education
  • The establishment of paternity, in practical terms, for man and women
  • Renovate the position of the child as a firm part of the family and society
  • Child protection, with an ongoing struggle against all forms of violence

Sègoléne Royal attended the Ecole Nationale d’Administration and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, and holds a degree in economics.