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French Socialists pick 'Mr. Normal' as 2012 presidential nominee

October 16, 2011 |  1:09 pm

France
REPORTING FROM PARIS -- France's opposition Socialists chose a 57-year-old father of four nicknamed Mr. Normal to lead their challenge against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's presidential election.

Fran├žois Hollande was declared winner of Sunday's second round of the Socialist Party's primary election after his rival, Martine Aubry, head of the party, conceded defeat.

Aubry told supporters at the party headquarters in Paris: "Fran├žois Hollande is now our candidate. ... From now he will symbolize the hope of Socialists and the left. ... Now it's time for unity."

Early figures suggested Hollande had won 56% of the vote compared with 43% for Aubry.

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-- Kim Wilsher

Photo: Francois Hollande speaks at Socialist Party headquarters in Paris after decisively winning the party's presidential primary election. Credit: Pascal Rossignol / Reuters