View from Paris: French left looks to its 'nearly man' to challenge Sarkozy

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor