Votes are continuing to be counted into the night in France after the Socialist party primary today, with a strong turnout reported at near 80%. According to Le Monde, the frontrunner Ségolène Royal leads polls in the North and in Paris. She spent the day at home in Melle. Unlike all-day elections in the US, the polls in France didn't open until 4 p.m., and stayed open until 10 p.m. It will be interesting to see the margin with which Royal will presumably win, because that could eventually affect the later 2007 election. A strong win of well over 50% will give her a clear mandate to continue her campaign as is, while a lower margin or even a forced runoff with the second place candidate will taint her high-flying image just as she enters the more difficult battle with Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
Edit: Segolene Royal was declared the winner with 55-60% of the vote after 11 p.m. French time. This margin of victory will ensure no runoff.
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