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Ségolène Royal

Royal wins key Socialist vote

Ségolène Royal 69%

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SOCIALIST Party members have chosen the agenda of Ségólène Royal to form the basis of their conference - ahead of six other candidates. 

Although Royal in September announced she was no longer running for the party leadership and that her bid was "on ice", her policy agenda beat those of other candidates who hope to win the position of premiere secretaire. 
Royal won with 29%, four points ahead of Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë and former employment minister Martine Aubry - the two most popular figures who have entered the leadership competition, according to recent polls. 

Stephane Le Foll, spokesman for outgoing party leader François Hollande, said the results of the vote were still incomplete. 
With no one garnering a majority, a fierce leadership battle is expected at a party conference next week. 
After three consecutive defeats in presidential elections, and no clear leadership, the Socialists have been bogged down in bitter infighting and unable to build a strong opposition to Sarkozy since he took office last year. 
The endless squabbling has left most commentators wondering whether the party of the late president Francois Mitterrand can unite and become a governing force in time for the 2012 presidential vote. 
One of France's most popular politicians, Bertrand Delanoë, is ahead of the polls to lead the party. He has won the backing of Hollande, Royal's former partner who has been first secretary for the past 11 years. 
But the Paris mayor, France's only prominent openly-gay politician, has come under fire for declaring himself a "free-market advocate and a socialist" a few months before world markets were hit by the financial crisis. 

The Socialist Party conference will be held in Reims on November 14-16. The leadership election will take place on November 20. 
Candidates have until the first day of the party conference to officially announce their plans to take part in the leadership contest.


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