Royal Supports Hollande in French Socialist Primary, AFP Says

Segolene Royal, the French 2007 Socialist presidential candidate, called on her supporters to vote for Francois Hollande in the second round of her party’s primaries, boosting his chances to win the nomination.

Royal announced her decision in a statement sent to Agence France-Presse saying: “He is leading in the first round. It is legitimate to amplify this lead.” Royal is Hollande’s former companion and the mother of their four children.

The winner of the second round will face President Nicolas Sarkozy, should he choose to seek a second term, in the presidential election in May 2012.

Hollande got the most votes in the first round, followed by Martine Aubry, whom he faces in the runoff on Oct. 16. Royal faced a setback in the first round on Oct. 9, garnering only 7 percent of the vote behind lawmaker, Arnaud Montebourg, who advocates nationalizing banks and got 17 percent of the vote.

Hollande got 39.2 percent of the 2.67 million votes, ahead of Aubry with 30.4 percent. Montebourg, whose support could be decisive, hasn’t said whom he’ll back. Manuel Valls, who came in fifth, and Jean-Michel Baylet, who got 0.6 percent of the votes, said they support Hollande.

A poll for Le Figaro released yesterday showed 54 percent of voters plan to choose Hollande on Sunday, compared with 46 percent for Aubry. The survey was conducted by Paris-based OpinionWay institute.

To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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