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French PM announces candidacy for 2017 presidential race

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-06 08:43
French PM announces candidacy for 2017 presidential race

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reacts at the end of a news conference where he announced that he is a candidate for next year's French presidential election, at the town hall in Evry, near Paris, France, December 5, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has publicly announced his candidacy for the left primary in preparation for the 2017 presidential election on Monday in Evry, a commune in the suburb of Paris, proposing "a new path" for "an independent France uncompromising on its values."

"I am a candidate for the presidency of the Republic," Valls told hundreds of his supporters in Evry, four days after President Francois Holland decided not to join 2017 presidential race.

"I have this strength in me, this desire to serve my country ... I want to give everything to France, a country that has given me so much," he said.

The prime minister said he would leave office on Tuesday to focus on his presidential campaign.

Valls, a security hardliner and advocate of pro-business ideas, was named the chief of Hollande's executive team in 2014 in a bid to earn the Socialists' spurs after their heavy defeat in the mayoral run-off.

To join the race to the Elysee Palace, Valls has first to win the Left nomination in two round-primary in January 22 and 29. Opinion polls showed that he is the favorite to win the party's ticket for the presidential election.

With a deeply-divided Left and Socialist camp dogged by public discontent over poor economics, the 54-year-old candidate has to unite the ranks to increase chances to maintain power in 2017 and defy pollsters which predicted no candidate for left-wing parties would garner enough support to pass the first round.

There are seven declared contenders for the left primary,including former ministers Aranud Montebourg and Benoit Hamon.

Ex-economy minister Emmanuel Macron and six other candidates have launched their own campaign, a fact likely to divide votes and crush the left parties' hope to build enough momentum to challenge the conservative candidate Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party.

Candidates for the left primary have to submit their bid before Dec 15.


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