Marie Ségolène Royal /segolɛn ʁwajal/ (born 22 September 1953 in Dakar, Senegal) is a French politician (specifically, she is the premier of the Poitou-Charentes region), top presidential candidate according to most French opinion polls, and a prominent member of the Socialist Party.A graduate of the ENA and Sciences Po, she was a judge (conseiller) of an administrative court before joining the staff of President François Mitterrand as a technical adviser.
She is a député for the Deux-Sèvres département (1988-1992, 1993-1997, 2002-). Minister of Environment under Pierre Bérégovoy from 1992 to 1993, she failed to be elected mayor of Niort against the incumbent Socialist. When the Left won the 1997 legislative election, she laid claim to the presidency of the National Assembly. But the party reserved it for Laurent Fabius. In compensation, she joined the government of Lionel Jospin as Vice-Minister of Education, then as Vice-Minister of Family and Childhood from 2000 to 2002.
On 28 March 2004, she was elected (with more than 55%) president of the region Poitou-Charentes, notably defeating Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's protégé, Elizabeth Morin, in his home region. (She retains her departmental seat simultaneously.)
Her (male) partner since the late 1970s is French Socialist Party leader François Hollande, with whom she has four children. While not married, they are bound by the PACS (pacte civil de solidarité), which provides for a civil union between two adults, regardless of gender. In the past, she has mounted campaigns against the exposure of children to violent television shows, including cartoons (see her 1989 book, listed below, Le Ras-le-bol des bébés zappeurs, roughly translated as "The Dissatisfaction of the Channel-Flipping Generation"), and more generally has stood on several issues regarding family values and the protection of children.
On 22 September 2005 Paris Match published an interview in which she declared that she was considering running for the presidency in 2007 . After the government was forced into a humiliating climb-down in the face of youth riots against the CPE (first employment contract) laws, she was tipped as the lead contender in what is dubbed the Sarko-Sego race against Nicolas Sarkozy.
Current 2007 Presidential bidOn 7 April 2006, Royal launched an Internet-led electoral campaign at Désirs d'avenir (English: Wishes of the future), publishing the first of ten chapters of her political manifesto. Though not yet a presidential candidate, the campaign which allows contributions by visitors in order to help "complete" the book is designed to help Royal produce a document which will be published in September 2006, two months before the Socialist Party elects its presidential candidate.
As of the beginning of September, her intentions have become quite clear. She has said that if she were a man the Socialist Party would already have rallied around her candidacy. Only widespread male chauvinism in the party has prevented this, according to her statements in an interview published September 1. She announced an official team to promote her campaign on August 30. A poll taken on August 29 and 30 showed that 47% of respondents prefer her as the Socialist Party candidate. Although this marks a slight decline from polls a week earlier she maintains a strong lead over all other candidates. Her closest competitor, former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin (who would later quit the race) received 21%, Dominque Straus-Kahn 16%, Jack Lang 12% Laurent Fabius 9% and François Hollande 8%.
Among active members of the Socialist Party who met at a "summer session" 57% preferred her as their candidate, 15% preferred Jospin, 11% Strauss Kahn and 9% Jack Lang. If there were a second round of votes she would receive 69% of the vote against Jospin and 73% against Jack Lang. Some on the left of the party criticize her position as overly "liberal" or moderate and she is widely seen as a pragmatist rather than a leftist candidate.
Her status as a presidential candidate was seen by some as uncertain until 28 September 2006, when Lionel Jospin announced that he would not be a candidate for the presidency.
She has made a point of speaking up on subjects the French Left usually feels uncomfortable with, most notably juvenile delinquents, going as far as advocating putting young delinquents under a reform regime with a "military dimension" , causing a stir within her own party and attacking Nicolas Sarkozy on his own turf. She also hasn't hesitated to criticize some side effects of the 35-hour working week that Lionel Jospin wrote into law when he was Prime Minister.
Political policies and careerLocal politics
* Recognition of chabichou cheese under Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée laws
* Restoration of the Poitevin Marshes
* Environmental measures including the planting of 10,000 trees in the Poitevin Marshes
* Promotion of local agriculture, such as the parthenaise and maraîchine cow breeds Environment
* Law on the treatment and recycling of refuse (La loi sur le traitement et le recyclage des déchets)
* Law to preserve the countryside (La loi sur la reconquête des paysages), followed by efforts to provide proper labelling for the products of 100 local areas (opération «Sauvons nos paysages, savourons leurs produits» -- "Save our countrysides, savor their products")
* Law against noise pollution (La loi de lutte contre le bruit)Education
* Re-launch of the Priority Education Zones ( ZEP / zone d'éducation prioritaire);
* Creation of a government student lunch program;
* Implementation of language instruction as a priority in primary schools;
* Creation of a national home-tutoring program, Heures de Soutien Scolaire
* Creation of programs for parental involvement in schools, "la Semaine des parents à l'école", and national campaigns for the elections of parent-representatives;
* Creation of local education and citizenship education contracts;
* Launch of "Initiatives citoyennes" for teaching children how to live together;
* Defense of children's rights and campaign against violence in the schools (Loi de juin 1998 relative à la prévention et à la répression des infractions sexuelles ainsi qu'à la protection des mineurs);
* Campaign against "hazing" of children (Loi de juin 1998 contre le bizutage);
* Campaign against violence and racketeering, implementation of an "SOS Violence" telephone number;
* Implemented mandatory civics instruction in secondary schools.Family and social affairs
* Law on parental rights and obligations (loi sur l'autorité parentale) ;
* Reform of women's rights and anonymous childbirth (l'accouchement sous X);
* Creation of paternity leave;
* Creation of 40,000 new spaces in French nursery schools;
* Social housing reform
* Parental time-off provisions and financial support for child illness care
* [[Special education] support (parents d'enfants handicapés) ;
* Education support for school returnees (Allocation de rentrée scolaire) ;
* Law against the prostitution of minors (Loi contre la prostitution des mineurs) providing penal measures for clients;
* Law against pedophile pornography;
* Creation of the association "Childhood and the Media" ("Enfance et média"), against violence in the media;
* Creation of the "Plan Handiscole" for the education of handicapped children and adolescents, and their integration into life at school;
* Programs for transportation, mass and individual;
* Creation of the program "Tourism & The Handicapped" ("Tourisme et handicap") LGBT Issues
* In 2000, Royal, as the then Minister of the Family and Children spoke out against homophobic bullying in schools, saying, School must be a place a place of tolerance, of welcome. Too many young people face teasing, social exclusion because of their sexual orientation
Some consider drugs, suicide attempts. It is time to stand up to this hostility shown towards homosexuality. She later introduced an educational pack in high schools and colleges called The Happiness of Loving, designed particularly for teachers and nurses. It comprises a video, educational information and printed copies for students which address the different issues of homosexuality and homophobia. It includes information on the Civil Partnership scheme, the situation of homosexuals and the discrimination which they face abroad. Royal commented further on the issue later that year, It is necessary, in my opinion, to step up against homophobia, to recognise and respect each other, with our differences.
* A law passed in February 2002, which was introduced by Royal on behalf of the Jospin government, gave legal recognition, for the first time, to families with gay parents, part of the laws object. Article 7 of the law amended Article 337 of the Civil Code in allowing the parents to [delegate] all or part of the exercise of their parental authority to a third person, member of the family [or] trustworthy near relation,. Article 337-1, added by the law, ensures that delegation may provide, for the needs of education of a child, that the father and mother, or one of them, shall share all or part of the exercise of parental authority with the third person delegatee."
* In a June 2006 interview with LGBT publication Têtu, Royal said "opening up marriage to same-sex couples is needed in the name of equality, visibility and respect" and said that if her party formed the next government, she would introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption.Ministerial career
* 3 April 1992 - 29 March 1993, Minister of the Environment
* 4 June 1997 - 27 March 2000, Vice-Minister for Education (ministre déléguée à l'Enseignement scolaire auprès du ministre de l'Éducation Nationale)
* 27 March 2000 - 27 March 2001, Vice-Minister for Family and Childhood (ministre déléguée à la Famille et à l'Enfance auprès de la ministre de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité)
* 28 March 2001 - 5 May 2002, Vice-Minister for Family and Childhood and Handicapped Persons (ministre déléguée à la Famille, à l'Enfance et aux Personnes handicapées auprès de la ministre de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité).Elective office
* 13 June 1988 - 2 May 1992, deputy for Deux-Sèvres
* 2 April 1993 - 21 April 1997, deputy for Deux-Sèvres
* 1 June 1997 -4 July 1997, deputy for Deux-Sèvres
* June 2002 - present, deputy for Deux-Sèvres