Under a media glare worthy of the presidential election itself, the two remaining French Socialists battling to represent the party next year have cast their ballots in today’s run-off.
Francois Hollande, a moderate party veteran and favourite to win, is up against Martine Aubry, a former labour minister and the architect of the country’s 35-hour week.
She has alluded to the French rugby team’s success in reaching the world cup final, saying “when it’s time for the post-match session, everyone parties together”.
The ballot is open to all voters who sign up to left-wing values. Opinion polls give Hollande a lead of six percentage points – and as they stand, suggest that the French want to see the back of Nicolas Sarkozy.
“I want to see change,” said one man as he voted. “Because the one in power now is taking us for a ride. He swans off everywhere, inviting Angela Merkel and whatnot… for him it’s all about dough while the others keep their mouths shut.”
“Things are looking good for Mr Hollande… but we’ll see. Sometimes you get surprises,” said a woman at the same polling station.
More than two and a half million people voted in the first round of the US-style primary.
A key factor will be how those who backed anti-globalisation hardliner Arnaud Montebourg will vote. He scored a surprise 17 percent and like the other ousted candidates is supporting Hollande.