French Socialists hold presidential primary
22 Jan 2017 - 13:25
PARIS: Left-wing sympathizers are headed to the polls Sunday to choose two finalists among seven candidates vying for the Socialist Party nomination for president.
The primary is open to all who are registered on the party's electoral roll and for a €1 ($1.04) fee, 1.5 million - 2 million voters can cast ballots after signing a pledge that they share the party’s values.
Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls and former rebel ministers Arnaud Montebourg and Benoit Hamon are running neck and neck in opinion polls.
Montebourg, the anti-austerity ex-finance minister leads with 29 percent, followed by Valls at 26 percent and Hammon has 25 percent support, according to recent surveys.
Four remaining candidates, Vincent Peillon, Sylvia Pinel, Francois de Rugy and Jean-Luc Bennahmias, are not likely to qualify for the Jan. 29 run-off when the top two vote-getters will go head-to-head.
Opinion polls, however, show the divided Socialists failing to get past the first round of the two-round presidential election set for April 23 and May 7.
Indicators point to independent candidate and former Socialist economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, conservative candidate Francois Fillon and far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, competing in the first round of the presidential race.
A Fillon-Le Pen presidential runoff is currently seen as the most likely scenario.