France’s socialist candidates submit proposals
The opposition party struggles to regain control after their 2007 loss.24 September 2008
PARIS -- Candidates for leadership of France's Socialist opposition party submitted their policy proposals to the party on Tuesday.
The new leader will be elected at a party congress in November and will probably challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy when he runs for re-election in 2012.
Candidates presented their proposals to a senior party committee, with each allowed 15 minutes to describe their plans to strengthen the Socialists after losing the 2007 presidential election.
The party was troubled by rivalry and disagreement after their defeat, in which Socialist candidate Segolene Royal was weakened by a lack of support from important members of her party.
The Socialists also did not take advantage of Sarkozy's low opinion ratings this year.
Royal is herself now a candidate to lead the party, but Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe is the favourite, while former minister of works Martine Aubry and leftist Euro-deputy Benoit Hamon also have support.
Officially the potential leaders presented policies favoured by their parts of the party, but these are considered campaign pitches before November's leadership vote.
Just before the meeting Delanoe was helped by former minister Pierre Moscovici, once considered a possible candidate, who supported the mayor's modernising "liberal and socialist" platform.
Despite the fighting between top party leaders, the left is still strong at the grass-roots level, with the Socialists and their allies in charge of 21 of France's 22 regional authorities.
The party gained power in municipal elections in March, securing authority over Paris, but did not gain influence in the national government, where Sarkozy's right-wing UMP still dominates.
[AFP / Expatica]