François Hollande to Run Against Sarkozy
Longtime party official says he can restore 'French dream'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2011 1:00 AM CDT
French candidate for the 2011 Socialist party primary elections Francois Hollande gestures as he delivers a victory speech yesterday.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

(Newser) – The French Socialists have a candidate for next year's presidential elections (and, surprise, it's not DSK), so now preparations can really begin for the Nicolas Sarkozy showdown, reports the BBC. The Socialists yesterday chose François Hollande—a longtime party official who has never held a ministerial-level office—as his main rival bowed out early, before the final results were even counted. Despite his lack of experience, Hollande is running ahead of deeply unpopular Sarkozy in early polls.

"I have heard the anger and concerns of a great number of people, unemployment, job insecurity, high rents, healthcare which is becoming more and more inaccessible," said the 57-year-old Hollande, who, interestingly, was the long-time lover of the last Socialist candidate for president, Segolene Royal, and the father of her four children. "I want to offer France's youth a better life than ours: I want to put the magic back in the French dream." President Sarkozy has yet to announce his candidacy officially, but is expected to do so soon. (You can read more about Hollande and his rather unhappy former partner and Socialist rival here).