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20 May 2011

Life after DSK?

Sarkozy still lagging behind the other Socialist candidates for president.

By Jonathan Derbyshire

It has been widely assumed that one of the main beneficiaries of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair is Nicolas Sarkozy. The man they call “DSK”, so the argument goes, was the only Socialist capable of beating the incumbent in next year’s French presidential election. Indeed, the leader in this week’s issue of the New Statesman makes the following observation:

Opinion polls consistently showed that he was the candidate with the best chance of denying Mr Sarkozy a second term in the Élysée Palace. But it is symptomatic of the crisis of the French left that many Socialists have already resigned themselves to defeat in 2012. A progressive party should never have allowed itself to become so dependent on one man.

However, the Socialists may be feeling a little better about their prospects after the latest Ipsos-Logic Business Consulting poll carried out for Le Monde, France Inter, France 2 and France 3. It puts both François Hollande (on 29 per cent) and the current first secretary of the PS, Martine Aubry (on 27 per cent), ahead of Sarkozy (on 21 per cent). But lagging far behind the president and her competitors in the race for the Socialist nomination is the 2007 presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, who gets only 16 per cent.

To the left of the PS, the presumptive candidate of the Front de Gauche, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, remains stuck on 4 per cent and appears not to have benefited from Olivier Besancenot’s announcement that he would not be standing as presidential candidate of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (Besancenot received 4.08 per cent of the vote in the first round of the 2007 election).

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Moreover, Sylvia Zappi, for Le Monde, suggests that both Aubry and Hollande poll better among members of “la gauche radicale” than Strauss-Kahn did, even if their platforms aren’t significantly different from that of the disgraced former head of the IMF.

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It seems that all is still to play for.