Aubry wins French Socialist leadership

Nov. 22, 2008 at 7:35 AM
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PARIS, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A razor-thin victory by Martine Aubry for the leadership of the French Socialist Party has set the stage for more factionalism on the Left, analysts say.

Aubry, the mayor of Lille and a former labor minister, defeated former French presidential candidate Segolene Royal by only 42 votes out of more than 130,000 cast Saturday, prompting Royal and her supporters to call for a new election, the International Herald Tribune reported.

Aubry, however, responded negatively, saying that there was "no reason" a new vote should be held and dashing hopes that the balloting would end squabbling and produce a unified Socialist Party.

Analysts told the newspaper that Aubry, who ran on a platform of rejecting alliances with centrists and creating a shadow Cabinet to challenge President Nicolas Sarkozy, will have a tough time convincing the general electorate to back her. Many voters, they say, disagreed with her move as part of the government of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to cut the French workweek from 39 to 35 hours.

"If we are not able to get our act together, it is perhaps the end of the Socialist Party," the Herald Tribune reported Aubry as saying this month.

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