Royal clear favourite for socialist president

9th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 7, 2006 (AFP) – Ségolène Royal, a 52 year-old former environment minister, is the runaway favourite to be the French Socialist Party's (PS) candidate in next year's presidential election, according to a poll of party supporters Sunday.

PARIS, May 7, 2006 (AFP) – Ségolène Royal, a 52 year-old former environment minister, is the runaway favourite to be the French Socialist Party's (PS) candidate in next year's presidential election, according to a poll of party supporters Sunday.

Royal received 50 percent of nominations in the IFOP survey in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper — far ahead of her nearest challenger former prime minister Lionel Jospin who had just 14 percent.

Other possible contenders including former ministers Jack Lang, Bernard Kouchner and Dominique Strauss-Kahn received eight percent or less. Former prime minister Laurent Fabius had five percent.

Royal's partner and the father of her four children, PS First Secretary François Hollande had three percent.

The PS will choose its candidate for the 2007 race in a ballot of its 160,000 members in November.

Interest in the PS nomination has been heightened in recent weeks by the difficulties of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), whose popularity has plunged after mass protests against a youth jobs programme and allegations of an internal smear campaign against Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, 51, is the leading right-wing contender for next year's election. Recent polls suggest a second round run-off between him and Royal would be closely fought.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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