More trou­ble for Royal as fi­nance chief quits

Bes­son storms out of meet­ing ac­cus­ing aides of giv­ing So­cial­ist can­di­date ‘bad ad­vice’

Gulf News - - EUROPE -

So­cial­ist cham­pion Se­go­lene Royal’s flag­ging cam­paign for the French pres­i­dency was in fresh trou­ble yes­ter­day af­ter her party’s eco­nomics chief re­signed amid a row over the cost of her elec­tion prom­ises.

The So­cial­ist Party’s fi­nance sec­re­tary Eric Bes­son — the man in charge of cost­ing Royal’s pres­i­den­tial pro­gramme — an­nounced on Wed­nes­day he was stand­ing down for “per­sonal rea­sons”. But party sources and sev­eral news­pa­pers said Bes­son re­signed in frus­tra­tion at poor or­gan­i­sa­tion in Royal’s cam­paign, which has failed to bounce back in the polls de­spite a key­note pol­icy speech at the week­end.

Spi­ral of de­pres­sion

Ac­cord­ing to Le Monde, Bes­son stormed out of a high-level party meet­ing on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, crit­i­cis­ing “end­less meet­ings with a to­tal lack of co­or­di­na­tion” and ac­cus­ing se­nior Royal al­lies of giv­ing her bad ad­vice. Le Monde said Royal’s cam­paign had run into “se­ri­ous or­gan­i­sa­tional prob­lems” and quoted one PS of­fi­cial as say­ing the party was trapped in a “spi­ral of de­pres­sion”.

The left-wing news­pa­per Lib­er­a­tion — which has broadly sup­ported Royal’s cam­paign — saw Bes­son’s de­par­ture as ev­i­dence “at best of ten­sions in Royal’s team, at worst of per­sis­tent mal­func­tions in the co­or­di­na­tion of her cam­paign”.

Both Bes­son and the codi­rec­tor of Royal’s cam­paign, Jean-Louis Bianco, in­sisted his de­par­ture was un­re­lated to dis­agree­ments over the cost of Royal’s pro­gramme. Bianco said it fol­lowed a “per­sonal dis­agree­ment” with PS leader Fran­cois Hol­lande.

But Royal’s right-wing ri­val Ni­co­las Sarkozy im­me­di­ately seized upon the latest sign of di­vi­sion in her camp. Speak­ing dur­ing a visit to the French is­land of Re­union, Sarkozy — with­out re­fer­ring to Royal by name — said France de­served a “co­her­ent team”, not “a man or a wo­man act­ing alone”.

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