French Socialist Party names two new official spokesmen, introduces a new weekly magazine

Paris: The French Socialist Party has decided to give itself two new official spokesmen and also plans to introduce a new weekly magazine to allow party members greater input into the debate over the major issues that the PS will be developing in the coming months.

The two new media spokesmen are Annick Lepetit and Julien Dray, and both are considered to be part of the new generation that the PS has been bringing to the fore in recent months in an effort to rejuvenate its image among younger French voters.

With regard to the new magazine, Jean-Marc Ayrault, a leading socialist

MP and president of the group of Socialists in the National Assembly, says that he'll be taking the PS's existing house organ, Tribunes Socialistes, and transforming it into the new weekly.

It will become, in his words, "a forum for the debate of the ideas we'll be developing, without any intellectual taboos, on all subjects relating to society, whether they concern the reform of our laws on secularity, on the secular nature of the French school system, on the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in our schools, indeed questions where we'll allow the expression of contradictory points of view, where we'll not be fearful indeed that a critical point of view on the left will be expressed."

As for Ms Lepetit, she is a close collaborator of Mayor of Paris Bertand

Delanoe, who is himself mentioned as a possible candidate for France's next presidential elections to be held in 2007.

Julien Dray is considered as one of the "Generation Mitterrand" members

of the PS, having been brought on during administration of President

Francois Mitterrand, who came to power in 1981. Mr Dray is an MP from the Essonne department and was one of the founders of the "Touche pas a mon Pote" anti-racism organisation with which the French Socialists were closely allied during the 1980s and 1990s.

They both report to Francois Hollande, who was reelected

secretary-general of the French Socialists and is himself one of the

possible candidates for 2007 presidential elections, the others being

former PM Laurent Fabius and Martine Aubry, presently the mayor of Lille.

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