View from Paris: French left looks to its 'nearly man' to challenge Sarkozy
Wednesday 18 May 2011
The permanent "nearly man" of French politics, François Hollande, emerged yesterday as the most likely centre-left presidential challenger to Nicolas Sarkozy in a spot opened up by the jailing of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
An opinion poll suggested Mr Hollande, 57, had sprung into a commanding lead in the Socialist party primary, which will take place in October. Mr Hollande, a former leader of the Parti Socialiste and the former partner of the defeated 2007 candidate Ségolène Royal, forecast months ago that next spring's presidential election would be won by a tortoise, rather than a hare.
He was already rising in the polls before Mr Strauss-Kahn's arrest in New York at the weekend, and in a poll for Le Parisien yesterday, he was the choice of 49 per cent of Socialist party members and 37 per cent of supporters of the wider French left. The party leader, Martine Aubry, had the support of 23 per cent of socialists. Ms Royal trailed in third with 10 per cent.
Much could yet change. Socialist voters have been stunned by the gravity of the accusations against the party's long-time – if undeclared – presidential favourite. Other candidates may yet enter the race, including Laurent Fabius, the former prime minister.
But as things stand, Mr Hollande looks well-placed to win the Socialist primary. President Sarkozy is reported to have told friends that Hollande was the Socialist candidate he most feared.
Mr Hollande predicted that voters would be in the mood for a "dull, serious" leader in the 2012 election after the "bling-bling presidency" of Mr Sarkozy. He also told supporters he was convinced he could defeat Mr Strauss-Kahn. He could not have foreseen that the "DSK" candidature would crash and burn.
Osborne dismisses Brown's prospects for IMF job
Chancellor George Osborne appeared to pour cold water on suggestions that Gordon Brown may be appointed as the next head of the International Monetary Fund.
Jockeying for the IMF's top job has stepped up following the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Asked yesterday whether Britain might benefit from providing the next head of the global finance watchdog, Mr Osborne said that the appointment should go to "the best person for the job" rather than being decided on the basis of applicants' nationality.
He added: "As it happens, Gordon Brown has not asked me directly or indirectly to be considered for the job. I'm at the moment focused on making sure we get the best person for the job."
Many diplomats have suggested that a European country should no longer be guaranteed stewardship – as has been the case in the past – over a global economy increasingly driven by emerging powers in Asia and Latin America.
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Ex-Scientologist Carmen Llwyelyn blasts 'cult' and her treatment after divorce with Jason Lee
German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
Tunisia attack: 'Paralysed' police let gunman run amok for half an hour, says witness
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...