20 March 2007

A dark horse candidate

François Bayrou, leader of the Union for French Democracy, is making a surprisingly strong showing in the public opinion polls in the runup to his country's presidential election, as indicated in this report: French voters discover the third way. Bayrou is a practising Roman Catholic with six children and 12 grandchildren. He is sometimes labelled a christian democrat, due to UDF roots in the old Mouvement Républicain Populaire of the Fourth Republic.

Nevertheless, despite his Catholic faith, he is a defender of laïcité, a principle embodied in a 1905 law separating church and state and undertaking to privatize ultimate religious commitments.

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