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Socialists set to crown Hollande in France’s first open primary

French politics will stray into uncharted, transatlantic territory this weekend when left-wing voters will be invited to take part in the country’s first “open” presidential, primary election. If pollsters are correct, little doubt remains about the identity of the centre-left challenger to President Nicolas Sarkozy next spring. In the last few days, the former Socialist party leader, François Hollande, 57, has extended his lead in the opinion polls. Sunday’s vote will be the first time that any French political party has opened its choice of presidential candidate to all comers. Anyone who has a national voting card can cast a ballot, so long as they pay a minimum of Euro1 to the…