Although François Hollande emerged from the French Socialists’ weekend presidential primary on top of the polls, with a healthy cushion over second-placed Martine Aubry, both candidates, who must now face each other in a Sunday runoff, face a challenge from the left of the party and its champion Arnaud Montebourg.
“I’ve heard the concerns of Arnaud Montebourg’s electors, who above all wanted to say something about the lack of rules governing globalisation, and on the importance of the financial sector,” said Hollande after the vote.
Montebourg scooped 17 per cent of the vote which both Hollande and Aubry would like to swing their way, but he has his price, and he announced it on Monday night.
“If the two candidates want to have my support they will certainly have to abandon several policies of the past,” he said on national television news.
The risk for Aubry and Hollande is that if they give too much ground to the left, they risk missing out on the big prize: the French presidency, next year. After a decade out of power, they may decide they can afford to ignore Montebourg.