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French Socialists and Greens hold final rallies before presidential vote

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French Socialists and Greens hold final rallies before presidential vote

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The general secretary of the French Socialist Party François Hollande has distanced himself from the politics of his partner Ségolène Royal. As the battle to become the Socialist candidate in next year’s presidential elections hots up, Hollande defended the importance of political parties – against the ideas of participatory democracy advocated by Royal.

Hollande, himself a potential presidential candidate, told delegates at the party’s summer school in La Rochelle that the country was in need of a deep transformation. Meanwhile the French Green Party is also holding its last summer rally before the election.

Popular ecologist-cum-television presenter Nicolas Hulot has threatened to stand himself for the election if the Greens don’t adopt a sufficiently radical programme. He said he didn’t want to, but that the issues facing the planet were more important than electoral strategies. The official candidate for the Greens is Dominique Voynet. She has rejected suggestions that standing against the Socialists risked letting in far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, adding that the priority was to present a coherent programme.