Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called on Monday for a big turnout in the second round of the Socialist primaries after a first round vote made left-wing rival Benoit Hamon frontrunner to represent the party in this year’s presidential election.
Opinion polls show that no Socialist is likely to win the presidency. They make conservative Francois Fillon the favourite, and put Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front in second place.
But they also show that a victory for Hamon in next Sunday’s decisive Socialist primaries second round runoff against Valls could expose the centre ground to which Valls hopes to appeal, and thereby boost the presidential prospects of independent centrist Emmanuel Macron.
“To all those voters who believe in the Left, do not despair, mobilise,” Valls said on RTL Radio. Late on Sunday he said the choice between Hamon and himself was one of “certain defeat and possible victory” in the presidential election.