France

Daughter of Jacques Delors could be next president, after Strauss-Kahn's downfall

Reuters

The leader of France's opposition Socialist party, Martine Aubry, on Tuesday formally announced her bid to become the country's next president.

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She joins four other declared candidates who will do battle in Socialist primaries scheduled for October, the winner will represent the party in France's presidential elections in May 2012.

60-year-old Aubry is currently the Mayor of the northern French town of Lille, and is the daughter of Jacques Delors, the famously integrationist former president of the European Commission.

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She is best known in France for introducing the 35-hour-week, when she was employment minister under Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin in the late 1990s.

Her supporters praise her leadership qualities, citing her management of Lille, but critics say she lacks charisma, and crucially, that she does not really want to be president.

She reportedly agreed with Dominique Strauss-Kahn that she would stand aside and let him run instead in the Socialist primaries, but that was before his political career collapsed in mid-May when he was arrested in Manhattan and charged with attempted rape.

She will cast herself as the candidate of the people, contrasting her quiet, low-key style with the high-profile action man image of current president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Recent opinion polls show that she would beat Nicolas Sarkozy comfortably in presidential elections.

 

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