La Présidentielle – A Family Affair

La Présidentielle is quite a family affair. Not only do we have Marine Le Pen, daughter of a former presidential candidate, running this year, plus François ‘give me a fiver’ Hollande, whose former partner Ségolene Royal ran in 2007, but it now turns out that the two favourites, the afore mentioned Hollande and Nicolas Sarozy, are distantly related.

According to Jean-Louis Beaucarnot, author of Le Tout-politique, the pair of them share a common ancestor, a Savoyard peasant from the 17th century. This person is Claude Labully-Burty from Saint-Maurice-de-Rotherens, a little village 20 kms from Chambéry.

Don't think I could eat one of these now ...

Claude’s family included two sons – another Claude, who was Hollande’s ancestor, and Pierre, who was Sarkozy’s. These two settled in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers during Louis XIII’s reign. Labully is a famous name in the area since it’s associated with a rather grisly cake. A pastry-making ancestor of our two presidential hopefuls, invented a fake breast gateau. Seriously. It’s an appropriately shaped brioche decorated with praline which was originally created to celebrate the fête of poor Saint Agatha (5th February) who was martyred unpleasantly (weren’t they all) by having, amongst other things, her breasts severed. I hope you weren’t eating while you were reading this.

Let’s have a quick, closer at our two cousins. Nicolas Sarkozy was born on 28 January 1955 in Paris. His father was a Hungarian immigrant, and his mother was of French and Greek descent. (And Sarko wants to cut down on immigrants!) He’s on his third marriage and has three sons and one daughter. As I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, he’s an extremely wealthy man. He’s also an author and his better known works are these three books – Libre, Témoignage and Ensemble.

François Hollande was born on 12 August 1954 at Rouen and is as French as he can be. He lived for a long time with Ségolene Royal and they have four children. His new partner is Valérie Trierweiler. Like Sarkozy, he’s also not short of a bob or two. He’s written books as well, including Le Rêve Français and the forthcoming Un Destin pour la France which has an unnervingly smiley-faced Mr H on the cover!

I can only think this common ancestor, Claude Labully-Burty, maybe wasn’t so good at the marriage thing but excellent with money, had a strong political (i.e. ruthless) streak and a love of expressing his opinions (orally most likely, since the chances are he probably couldn’t read or write) which he has passed on down the generations. It’s not quite the family feud of the Milliband brothers recently in the UK, but I think this ancestral connection adds a little bit of extra excitement to the contest.