Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

France's 'Tweetweiler' Affair Lingers ; President's Ex-Partner Reacts to First Lady's Support for Her Opponent

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

France's 'Tweetweiler' Affair Lingers ; President's Ex-Partner Reacts to First Lady's Support for Her Opponent

Article excerpt

Francois Hollande's ex-partner on Thursday reacted angrily to a tweet from the president's current companion that supported her opponent in an election Sunday.

It began with a tweet.

The soap opera touched off this week by Valerie Trierweiler, the companion of President Francois Hollande, seemed headed for no tidy denouement on Thursday, with the ostensible target of her Twitter post -- Segolene Royal, a politician and Mr. Hollande's former partner -- earnestly describing her shock at the Internet message and at poll numbers that unexpectedly show her losing a coming election.

"Faced with the violence of the blow, I didn't want to react in the heat of moment," Ms. Royal told the newspaper Liberation. "As a woman politician, I ask to be respected, just as the support that the president of the Republic is giving me must be respected."

In a tweet on Tuesday, Ms. Trierweiler lent her support to Olivier Falorni, a Socialist Party dissident who is running against Ms. Royal in the port city of La Rochelle, despite Ms. Royal's official backing from the party -- and from Mr. Hollande, who, in addition to his responsibilities as president, is the father of four children with Ms. Royal.

A survey this week from the polling agency Ifop showed Ms. Royal losing handily to Mr. Falorni, despite being ahead of him by several percentage points in the first round of voting last weekend. And even if she prevails, given the fallout from the Twitter incident, analysts say her fellow lawmakers would not elect her president of the lower house, as previously had been expected.

As a candidate, Mr. Hollande pledged to be a "normal" president, in a break with former President Nicolas Sarkozy's brusque manner and his tendency to parade his amorous life -- particularly his relationship with the singer and former model Carla Bruni, who is now his wife -- for all to see. …

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