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French socialists edge closer to choosing a leader

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French socialists edge closer to choosing a leader

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The protracted process of choosing a leader for the main French opposition party is coming to a head as members prepare to vote. Segolene Royal failed in last year’s presidential election, but succeeded in highlighting differences within the Socialist Party. Nevertheless, she is marginally ahead after a first round of balloting earlier this month.

Martine Aubry goes into the vote in second place so far, but that position has been strengthened by the support of Bertrand Delanoe. The Mayor of Paris gave her his backing after dropping out of the contest. Aubry has asked Royal to work alongside her should she win and has called for profound change in the party.

The third candidate in the frame is Benoit Hamon, who is younger and on the party’s left-wing. He has been offered a top job by Segolene Royal if she wins but goes into this evening’s ballot in third. If there is no outright winner, the two front-runners go on to a run-off vote.