DIJON (ARF Press Office/Financial Times)–France’s Socialist party wound up a three-day congress in Dijon on May 18–rallying round the leadership of Franois Hollande–who was re-elected unopposed as secretary-general. Approximately 4,300 delegates participated; an additional one hundred guests were present–including Unger Henri Papazian from the ARF Bureau–as well as representatives from ARF France.
During the three day meetings–the ARF delegation met with France’s Socialist party leadership and with representatives of other delegations.
Hollande–whose policy platform won the backing of 61 percent of party members in voting before the conference–emerged as the undisputed leader of the party and is certain to be reelected first secretary later in the week.
In his speech–Hollande said the party had put behind it the disastrous defeat in last year’s presidential and parliamentary elections and was ready to play its full part in opposing the centre-right Raffarin government. "The Socialists are now back on the map," he told delegates gathered at Dijon for the party’s 73rd congress.
Hollande has been the de facto party leader since Lionel Jospin–the former premier–resigned from all political office last April after failing to win through to the second round of the presidential elections. But in the run-up to the congress–Hollande has had to work hard to avoid party divisions.
He achieved this by steering an ambiguous path between loyalty to the policies of the previous Jospin government and trying to appease those who felt the party had swung too far towards the center away from traditional socialism.