Supporters of Segolene Royal accused opponents within France's Socialist party
of fixing a bitterly contested leadership vote and demanded a re-run, plunging
the leftist opposition into crisis on Saturday.
Socialist officials said Martine Aubry...defeated her arch rival Royal by just 0.04
percentage points, or 42 votes, in Friday's ballot of the party's 233,000
Ms. Royal's camp refused to accept the leadership result
and urged Socialist members to rise up against the party hierarchy, which had
openly backed Ms. Aubry's candidacy.
“There was fraud, there was cheating, there is deep
doubt about last night's result,” parliamentarian Manuel Valls said.
“I call for the membership to rebel...our supporters
cannot put up with this any more. The only way out of it is to hold a second
vote,” he told TF1 television.
Senior leftist figures urged restraint, fearing the
ballot could tear apart the Socialist party, which was re-founded by former
President Francois Mitterrand in 1971 but has been riven by deep divisions for