French Socialist Party Candidates Target Banks, Financial System

French Socialist Party Candidates Target Banks
The six candidates for the French Socialist Party’s presidential nomination, left to right, Francois Hollande, Jean-Michel Baylet, Martine Aubry, Manuel Valls, Segolene Royal and Arnaud Montebourg take part in a televised debate near Paris. Photographer: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

The six candidates for the French Socialist Party’s presidential nomination pledged to rein in the financial system and impose greater supervision on banks.

In the second of three televised debates last night, the candidates were unanimous on the need to curb the financial industry.

Segolene Royal, the May 2007 election candidate defeated by President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Arnaud Montebourg, another Socialist contender, pledged they would “put banks under the guardianship” of the state, if elected. Martine Aubry, the former party chief, said she would “tax the financial system” and Francois Hollande, the party’s leading candidate, said he would revise stock options rules. They didn’t elaborate on their plans in the two-and-half hour debate.

Separately, candidate Manuel Valls said he would raise the value-added tax by one percentage point, ”except for essential goods.” Aubry and Royal promised legally binding rules to force gender equality in the government and in business.

An Ipsos opinion poll released yesteday showed Hollande would garner 44 percent of the votes at the Oct. 9 party primaries, topping his nearest rival Aubry by 17 percentage points. Royal would get 13 percent of the votes, Montebourg 10 percent, Valls 5 percent and Jean-Michel Baylet 1 percent, the poll showed.

Ipsos surveyed 574 voters who plan to cast their vote in the ballot between Sept. 21 and 26. It didn’t provide a margin of error.

The Socialist Party is holding two rounds of voting in the primaries, on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16. The winner will be the party’s candidate in the May 2012 presidential election.

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