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France's Jospin Drops Out of Race to be Socialist Presidential Candidate


Former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin says he will not seek the nomination of his Socialist Party to become a candidate in next year's presidential election.

Jospin had made a political comeback by saying he might compete for the Socialist nomination against the front-runner, Segolene Royal.

But, he ruled himself out of the contest Thursday in an interview with a French radio station (RTL). Royal and other contenders for the Socialist nomination are required to submit their candidacies in the coming days, from Saturday to Tuesday.

French Socialist Party members will select their presidential candidate in a November vote.

Jospin initially retired from politics after suffering a big defeat in the 2002 French presidential election. French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen beat Jospin for the right to face the eventual winner, Jacques Chirac, in a run-off election.

French opinion polls have indicated Segolene Royal is the only left-wing candidate capable of challenging center-right front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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