Tuesday, June 19, 2007

France's first Socialist couple breakup

The French tolerate presidential infidelity more than Americans probably because of the trickle-down effect of centuries of adulterous monarchs and most of their past presidents.

When the French do cheat, they handle it differently from Americans. The French are apt to think of infidelity as one of the predictable pitfalls of marriage. The French are far less troubled by a few discreet lies to protect a spouse from unpleasant information.

American public life can be dominated by tales of soiled dresses or leaked text messages (eg. the impeachment of President Clinton over a sex scandal) for weeks on end, while the French seem to be pretty casual about the sexual adventures of their elected leaders.

Defeated French Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal said on Sunday she has split from her partner, party leader Francois Hollande, after having denied of such rumours during her campaign. She has now accused him infidelity.

"I have asked Francois Hollande to leave our home, to pursue his love interest which is now laid out in books and newspapers and I wish him happiness," Royal said in an interview for the book to be published on Wednesday.

Ms Royal, 53, and Mr Hollande, 52, had been together (but not married) for more than 25 years and have four children: Thomas, Clemence, Julien and Flora, aged 14 to 22.

Royal has set her eyes to challenge for the party top-seat, and the two are likely to clash then, or even earlier if the Socialists decide to call an early congress.

This breakup it may be evidence of a bigger trend of openness in the internet age.

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