France’s Socialists are claiming a triumph after their Le Mans congress. Riven with division before it, the party claims it has succeeded in forging a common platform between all the factions for the first time since 1985.
Special guest of honour was Italian opposition leader Romano Prodi, who urged his socialist colleagues on in their bid to regain power and set an example for the rest of the European left.
Socialist leader Francois Hollande appears to have been able to reconcile the positions of three separate camps; his own, led by former finance minister Dominique Strauss Kahn, the rebels who voted against party lines in the referendum on the EU Constitution led by former prime minister Laurent Fabius, and younger reformers who want to shake up the party and French constitution. i Holland has faced challenges to his leadership particularly from within the rebel camp. If he has pulled unity from the fire in Le Mans, his political capital may soar.