French Socialist Hollande leads ahead of primaries

PARIS - French presidential hopeful Francois Hollande extended his lead during the summer over Socialist rivals in the race to win the party's nomination for the 2012 election campaign, a poll showed on Sunday.
The six candidates competing for the Socialist ticket were all in La Rochelle in western France for the party congress over the weekend, looking to win sympathizers less than six weeks before voters across the country pick their favorite.Hollande, who has never held a ministerial post and is relatively unknown internationally, became the leading Socialist candidate for the two-round election next April and May after former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested.
Hollande has consistently led the polls against his closest rival, former party chief Martine Aubry, and 2007 candidate Segolene Royal, while according to a poll on Aug. 24, he would edge out incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy in the election run-off.
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