Bloomberg News

French Socialist Finalists Seek Greater State Control of Banks

October 13, 2011

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The two finalists in the battle for the Socialist Party’s nomination in the French presidential vote said the state must take greater control of banks and called for increased regulation of global financial transactions.

In their last televised debate late yesterday before the party’s nomination vote on Oct. 16, Francois Hollande and Martine Aubry said the country’s banks should be under state guardianship. The winner will take on President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has yet to declare his intention to seek a second term, in May 2012.

The finalists’ hardening stance shows they are endorsing demands by Arnaud Montebourg, who came in third in the first round of the nomination vote on Oct. 9 and whose support they need. Montebourg, who advocates “de-globalization,” has called for a move toward re-nationalizing French banks and for increased financial regulation. He sent Hollande and Aubry a letter dated Oct. 10 asking them to take his demands on board.

Hollande said also yesterday that he sees a Greek default before the end of the year. Aubry said “the banks must pay” for their Greek investments. Both called for increased global regulations and barriers to trade if countries including China don’t respect commercial and environmental rules.

Hollande, the former head of the Socialist Party, is leading the race. Segolene Royal, the French 2007 Socialist presidential candidate, called on her supporters yesterday to vote for Hollande in the second round. Montebourg may reveal today which of the two candidates he supports.

A poll for Le Figaro released Oct. 11 showed 54 percent of voters who’ll participate in the primaries plan to choose Hollande, compared with 46 percent for Aubry. The survey was conducted by Paris-based OpinionWay institute.

--Editors: Vidya Root, David Whitehouse

To contact the reporters on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at hfouquet1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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