France’s Socialist Party is celebrating the success of its novel open vote to choose its presidential candidate for next year’s election.
François Hollande and Martine Aubry will contest next Sunday’s second round, hoping the 2.5 million electors who turned out will do it again.
On Monday night on television the third-placed candidate, Arnaud de Montebourg, may tell his supporters to back one or another of the big two.
The French press is predicting a close-fought race between Hollande and Aubry, and has noted that Ségolène Royale’s relegation to a poor fourth means the end of any presidential ambitions for her. Royale was the socialists’ 2007 presidential candidate.
Polls suggest whoever wins the ballot next Sunday stands a good chance of toppling President Nicolas Sarkozy next May.