An icy stand-off between the former power couple of the French left, defeated presidential hopeful Segolene Royal and Socialist leader Francois Hollande, cast a chill over the party's summer congress at the weekend.
Following her defeat to Nicolas Sarkozy in May, Royal announced that she was separating from Hollande, with whom she has four children, and who has since been pictured with a new girlfriend in the French press.
....Royal is battling to take over the party reins when Hollande's term ends next year, while Hollande said Friday he would consider taking on his former partner for the 2012 presidential nomination.
A weekend congress of some 4,000 Socialist Party activists in the Atlantic city of La Rochelle, billed as a chance for the party to get back on track, was instead dominated by their stand-off.
Hollande did not attend Royal's opening address, in which she said she was "confident the party can rise up and make itself heard," while she left without listening to Hollande's keynote speech on Sunday.