Victory for moderates as French socialists end feuding

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The Independent Online

The outcome of a three- day party conference in Le Mans was - outwardly at least - a triumph for the party's moderate first secretary, François Hollande.

Leaders of two more left-wing factions were forced to accepted a common party platform which ignored most of their attempts to steer the party towards a more radical, anti-capitalist and anti-European position.

However, deep ideological divisions and personal animosities remain. One of the rising stars of the left-wing of the party, Arnaud Montebourg, rejected the compromise as "unworkable, lacking in credibility and short-lived".

Nonetheless, M. Hollande gave a powerful and statesmanlike closing speech to the conference yesterday, urging socialists to redirect their aggression against the centre-right government of President Jacques Chirac.

M. Hollande promised that a socialist president and government after 2007 would make massive investments in the poor suburbs of French cities, which were set aflame in rioting by disaffected youths in recent weeks.