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French left steps up for election fight with Sarkozy

French left steps up for election fight with Sarkozy
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Could Socialist Francois Hollande be the next President of France?

The Socialist stalwart is hoping to step into Nicolas Sarkozy’s shoes in next year’s election but first he will have to secure his party’s nomination.

On the final day for candidates to declare, fellow Socialist veteran Martine Aubry is the woman to beat. The daughter of ex-European Commission chief Jacques Delors, she is neck and neck with Hollande for the party’s selection contest in October.

After his shock arrest in New York on sex charges, it is no surprise that one-time front runner Dominique Strauss-Kahn has not thrown his hat into the ring. Yet some argue that French forgiveness runs deep, whatever the ex-IMF boss may or may not have done.

Jean-Daniel Levy of the Harris Interactive polling agency said: “A person who has committed highly questionable acts is not necessarily disqualified in France. We can have someone who has had sexually deviant or illegal behaviour, we can have someone who has already been convicted by the justice system for financial issues or fraud without necessarily disqualifying him. Alain Juppe is the foreign minister and let’s not forget that he was convicted by the French judicial system.”

Polls suggest that DSK’s downfall has not ruined Socialist hopes of evicting conservative Sarkozy from the Elysee Palace.