The Woman Who Would Be France's President

Segolene Royal shuns party politics, extols law and order, and doesn't mind being seen in a bikini. Is this France's next President?

Ségolène Royal knows how to attract a crowd. When she walks into a meeting of France's Socialist Party, her mere approach is enough to cause a stampede of camera-wielding, sharp-elbowed journalists, who brush aside Royal's rivals for the party's presidential nomination. As she glides through the crowd, Royal, 53, coyly appeals for decorum. "There should be some constraints, some respect for modesty," she coos in a smoky alto. But the hint of a smile on her lips betrays her: she's loving it. And why not? So blinding is Royal's star wattage that her opponents seem feckless in her wake. "They're not...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!