Nine can­di­dates bid­ding for So­cial­ist pri­mary in France

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

PARIS:

Nine com­peti­tors are bid­ding to be the So­cial­ist Party’s can­di­date in next year’s French pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Among those who de­clared their can­di­dacy by Thurs­day’s dead­line are for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls, who is re­garded as the front-run­ner to rep­re­sent the So­cial­ist party and its al­lies.

Valls re­signed as prime min­is­ter ear­lier this month af­ter an­nounc­ing he would run to re­place Fran­cois Hol­lande, who won’t seek a sec­ond term. Valls hopes to unite France’s So­cial­ist party but faces tough com­pe­ti­tion from for­mer Econ­omy Min­is­ter Arnaud Mon­te­bourg and for­mer Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Benoit Ha­mon, party rebels who back more left-lean­ing poli­cies.

Other can­di­dates are Sylvia Pinel, Ger­ard Filoche, Vin­cent Peil­lon, Fa­bien Verdier, Jean-Luc Ben­nah­mias and Fran­cois de Rugy. The de­fin­i­tive list of con­tenders will be known on Satur­day once ap­proved by the pri­mary’s or­ga­niz­ers.

Peil­lon, ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter from 2012 to 2014, also presents him­self as the can­di­date of “unity” while Filoche, who for­merly en­forced em­ploy­ees’ rights as a work in­spec­tor, is cham­pi­oning work­ing-class in­ter­ests. Ben­nah­mias and de Rugy are well known for their green cre­den­tials and Pinel has held min­is­ter po­si­tions in Hol­lande’s gov­ern­ments. The youngest in the race at 35, Verdier re­mains largely un­known out­side po­lit­i­cal cir­cles.

The pri­mary will take place on Jan. 22-29 over two rounds. All French ci­ti­zens over 18 are al­lowed to vote if they pay 1 euro and sign a doc­u­ment say­ing they share the val­ues of the left.

Other can­di­dates in­clud­ing far-left leader Jean-Luc Me­len­chon and cen­trist fig­ure Em­manuel Macron - a for­mer econ­omy min­is­ter un­der Valls have cho­sen to run in­de­pen­dently. Cur­rent opin­ion polls sug­gest that the sec­ond round of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could pit Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, against con­ser­va­tive nom­i­nee Fran­cois Fil­lon. — AP

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