Profiled: Leading Candidates To Lead French Left in Presidential Elections

PARIS (AP) — A quick look at the two candidates advancing to the Jan. 29 runoff of France’s Socialist Party presidential primary, and how it works:

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BENOIT HAMON

Candidate for the French left’s presidential primaries ahead of the 2017 presidential election, Benoit Hamon, winks as he arrives for the first round of the primaries in Trappes, west of Paris, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Seven candidates are running in the first round of France’s left-wing presidential primary, whose winner will face a tough challenge from the right and nationalist far right in the April-May general election. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

BENOIT HAMON, 49

Resume: Former French junior minister, briefly education minister, former Socialist Party spokesman rebelled, with Montebourg, against Hollande’s policies in 2014.

Pledges: To give 750 euros ($800) “universal income” gradually to all French adults; to tax robots; to legalize cannabis; to repeal labor measures passed by Valls; recognition of a Palestinian state.

Style: Serious, sober.

Weakness: Inexperience at highest levels.

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AP Photo

Former French Prime Minister and candidate for the French left’s presidential primaries ahead of the 2017 presidential election, Manuel Valls, arrives to cast his vote during the first round of the Socialist party primary election in Evry, south of Paris, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. Seven candidates are running in the first round of France’s left-wing presidential primary, whose winner will face a tough challenge from the right and nationalist far right in the April-May general election. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

MANUEL VALLS, 54

Resume: French interior minister from 2012-2014; French prime minister 2014-December 2016. Handled the aftermath of terror attacks in Paris in 2015, won parliamentary approval for emergency powers and counterterrorism measures.

Pledges: Lower taxes for middle-class households; minimum income of 850 euros ($906) for adults with no other revenue; civic service for young people; boost police and defense.

Style: Bossy, experienced.

Weakness: Close association with unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande, who has decided not to seek a second term.

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VOTING METHOD:

Between 1.5 million and 2 million voters cast ballots at more than 7,500 polling stations Sunday in the first round of the presidential primary. It is open to all voters who pay 1 euro ($1.04) and sign a document saying they share the left’s values. The other five candidates in the primary were eliminated in the first round, while Hamon and Valls advance to the runoff Jan. 29.


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