France’s former presidential candidate Segolene Royal has won the first round vote in the battle to decide the divided French Socialists’ next leader.
Royal took 42 percent of the vote, but will now face a run-off with her nearest rival, Martine Aubry.
Vying to replace ex-partner and outgoing leader Francois Hollande, Royal faces a tough task if she is to win the contest’s second round. Defeated in last year’s presidential election, she is seen by some as a force for change, but by others as politically inconsistent.
Her second round challenger, Lille Mayor Martine Aubry, brought home around 35 percent of the vote. She is backed by an unlikely coalition united against Royal.
The third candidate Benoit Hamon, who is no longer in the race, has called on his supporters to back Aubry.