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Socialist candidates face deadline

July 13, 2011 - FRANCE

Opposition Socialist Party (PS) contenders have until Jul 13 to decide if they will vie for their party's nomination to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy of the center-right Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) in the 2012 election. The July date kicks of a three-month campaigning period that ends in October with the country's first-ever presidential primary contest. Much hangs on whether Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in contention.

Opposition Socialist Party (PS) contenders have until Jul 13 to decide if they will vie for their party's nomination to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy of the center-right Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) in the 2012 election. The July date kicks of a three-month campaigning period that ends Oct 9 and 16 with the country's first-ever presidential primary contest. Much hangs on whether Dominique Strauss-Kahn is back in contention. ; Recent polls suggest the candidacy of former International Monetary Fund chief Strauss-Kahn candidacy could be bad news for the incumbent. Sarkozy trailed Strauss-Kahn in the polls as late as May, just before sexual assault allegations against him led to his arrest and resignation from his IMF job. In early July, the case appears close to collapse, meaning Strauss-Kahn could soon be deciding whether he will run for the presidency -- if a new case that has surfaced against him goes nowhere. In July Tristane Banon, a friend of Strauss-Kahn's daughter and a goddaughter of his second wife, is filing a complaint against him for attempted rape in 2003. Apart from Strauss-Kahn, some 14 Socialists are expected to throw hats into the ring. They include: Segolene Royal, who led the Socialists in a tough battle against Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency in 2007, and lost; Martine Aubry, currently secretary general of the Socialists, who, as Labor Minister, gave France the 35-hour work week; Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris; Jack Lang, who has held many offices; Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister; Manuel Valls and Arnaud Montebourg, two younger aspirants; and François Hollande, the party's ex-leader and Royal's ex-partner. Le Monde lists Delanoë as one of the strongest presidential contenders.

Did Dominique Strauss-Kahn Try To Rape Tristane Banon? (Slate 5 Jul 2011)

Strauss-Kahn Would Beat Sarkozy in French Election, Poll Shows (Bloomberg 20 May 2011)

France Draws Election Battle Lines Over AAA Rating (WSJ 5 May 2011)

Porsche driving Socialist? Not in France (France 24 5 May 2011)

Socialists back-pedal on US-style primaries (France 24 2 Apr 2011)

FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in France (Reuters 3 Sep 2010)

Marine Le Pen becomes Front National leader (Telegraph 16 Jan 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-07-13