France: Hamon wins Socialists' presidential primary

Ex-PM Valls loses the chance to compete in the April 23 presidential election

France: Hamon wins Socialists' presidential primary

World Bulletin / News Desk

Former education minister Benoit Hamon became on Sunday the left-wing candidate for the April 23 presidential election after beating the former Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Socialists' primary run-off.

Partial results of 60 percent of polling stations showed Hamon leading with 58.6 percent of the vote, compared to 41.3 percent for Valls, according to organizers.

Organizers said the turnout in the second round was higher than the 1.7 million of the first round last weekend. The primary was open to all who are registered on the electoral roll and for a €1 ($1.04) fee.

Hamon told his supporters that his first task is uniting the divided Socialist Party, adding that he will then turn his attention to uniting with the other independent left-wing presidential candidates.

“Let’s make France’s heart beat,” he finished his victory speech by referring to his campaign slogan.

“I have always had a sense for teamwork and responsibility. Hamon is the candidate of our political camp,” Valls said in his concession speech, wishing Hamon “good luck”.

The former PM called for unity to block the rise of far-right leader Marine Le Pen and the right candidate Francois Fillon.

In the first round, the center-leaning Valls came in second with 31 percent, tailing the more liberal Hamon who secured more than 36 percent of the vote, giving the current Yvelines lawmaker the lead on the run-off.

In their last tete-a-tete debate, Valls, 54, told his supporters the run-off would be "a clear choice between unachievable promises and a credible left”.

Hamon, 49, presented himself as the hope to save the limping Socialist Party after a five-year term under President Francois Hollande was marked by terror attacks, a struggling economy and mass protests.

Opinion polls, however, show the divided Socialists failing to get past the first of the two-round presidential election set for April 23 and May 7.

Indicators point to independent candidate and former economy minister under President Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, conservative candidate and former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen as competing for the first two spots of the first round.

A Fillon-Le Pen presidential run-off had been considered the most likely scenario until reports came out last Wednesday accusing Fillon of misusing public funds.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Ocak 2017, 00:29