Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced on August 26 that he intends to run for the leadership of the Socialist party in November, a maneuver that could well position him for the French presidency coming up in 2012.
“Yes, I will put all my energy at the service of our convictions,” Bertrand told Le Monde newspaper.
Although Delanoë has not committed to running for the presidency, if he were to do so and win, he would become the first gay man to lead a major world power in modern times.
Delanoë, 58, is openly gay and the first Socialist to serve as mayor of Paris, where policies such as free bicycle use and faux beaches along the Seine contribute to his popularity. He was elected in 2001 after serving as a city councilor. He came out as gay in office in 1998, and in 2002, he was stabbed in a bias attack.
Also competing to lead the embattled Socialist party will be Ségoléne Royal, 54, who lost the presidential election last year to Nicolas Sarkozy. The former partner of the current Socialist party chairman, François Hollande, is sometimes called the Hillary Rodham Clinton of France.