French politicians Benoit Hamon and Manuel Valls are in the lead in the first round of the Socialist Party’s primary elections in their quest to win the party’s nomination for president in the 2017 polls, early results show.
Preliminary vote counts from the first round of the primary elections, which was held on Sunday, showed that the two were ahead of the other five participants.
If the final results match the early ones, Hamon, a former education minister, and Valls, who stepped down as prime minister in December 2016 to run in the socialist primaries, will take part in the run-off vote next Sunday to determine the sole socialist candidate in the presidential race, scheduled for April 23.
A total of seven candidates from the opposing wings of the leftists’ party were in competition for the nomination. Apart from Hamon and Valls, politicians Francois de Rugy, Arnaud Montebourg, Sylvia Pinel, Vincent Peillon, and Jean-Luc Bennahmias were also running.
Meanwhile, polls suggest that the Socialists have little chance of winning the upcoming presidential election. Polls indicate that the Socialist Party candidate will be eliminated in the first round.
Observers believe the public is swayed by the right wing after almost five years of presidency by socialist Francois Hollande.
Analysts predict the main contenders for the post of president will be far-right leader Marine Le Pen, conservative ex-premier Francois Fillon, and Emmanuel Macron, a socialist-liberal-turned-independent.