On Friday the Parti Socialiste, the erstwhile main left-wing political force in France, voted for a new First Secretary (party leader, but not necessarily automatic presidential candidate). The run off was between two women: Ségolène Royal (didn't they learn when she lost the presidential to the Gnome?) and Martine Aubry (mayor of Lille, best known in France for masterminding the 35-hour working week).
That in itself isn't very newsworthy, but what does incite comment is the bitter argument now raging between the rivals' camps on who actually won. Initially Royal was proclaimed victorious (some would say unusually early into vote-counting), before the party leadership was finally bestowed to Aubry. Since Saturday both women and their lieutenants have been bickering, crying foul and generally disputing any result that says they lost. Royal's camp even demanded a re-vote, if you can believe it. A somewhat foolish suggestion, as people won't vote any differently. Re-count all you like, but demanding a second vote is just desperation.
The party's governing council is supposed to be re-checking all the results and confirming the result today. The main news bulletin is on now, but no news from the bigwigs thus far. And as you can imagine, the longer this infighting drags on, the bigger the smug smile on the faces of right-wing UMP Sarko-groupies. Any political movement that can't stop fighting amongst themselves is doomed to electoral failure. See the horrid Tories all through the 90s.
While I can't suppress a bemused smile at this débâcle, the sad fact is that the biggest loser here is France. As the Socialists, the most mainstream and biggest left-wing party, hurtles towards implosion and oblivion, France is left without an electorally-viable choice on the left of the political divide. Which means more Gaulist and righty governments and presidents. You'd better get used to it, French people, because the Socialists risk leaving the country with no choice.