Aubry Will Lead French Socialist Party After Vote

Rival Royal refuses to accept outcome of contentious recount
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2008 2:54 PM CST
French Socialist party member and Lille mayor Martine Aubry prepares to cast her ballot.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Martine Aubry has edged out rival Ségolène Royal to become the leader of France’s Socialist Party, the BBC reports. A recount of last week’s vote, requested by Royal, actually widened Aubry’s winning margin. Royal, the party’s presidential candidate last year, said she would not accept confirmation of the vote by the national leadership, which leans against her. Aubry will be the first woman to lead the party.

Aubry, 58, is the mayor of the northwestern city of Lille and is famous for championing France’s 35-hour work week. Royal’s opposition to the results has some wondering if the party will split; President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party is delighted by the rancor, and hails “the implosion of the Socialist party.”