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French PM Manuel Valls to Announce Presidential Bid

(Reuters) – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls is expected to announce he is entering the race to be the Socialist candidate for next year’s presidential election, after Francois Hollande said he would not stand, a move that would mean a government reshuffle.

Valls has called a news conference for 1730 GMT on Monday, and even before any announcement, French media were citing the health, interior and finance ministers as possible heads of what would effectively be a caretaker government if Valls stands down to focus on the presidential election.

Valls, 54, has made no secret of his desire to seek the Socialist ticket, even though he faces stiff competition from the more traditional left of his party at the primary in January. The prime minister has a more centrist, business-friendly stance on economic policies, combined with a reputation as a hardliner on law and order.

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