President François Hollande’s decision not to seek a second mandate has left a wide-open field ahead of primaries to designate a nominee for the Socialist Party and its allies. FRANCE 24 takes a look at the seven candidates.
Polls suggest the unpopular Socialists will fail to qualify for the second round of France’s presidential election on May 7, slipping behind conservative candidate François Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Whoever wins the Socialist ticket will be sandwiched in between hard-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon and centrist former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, both of whom have shunned the primary.
But the Socialists are still the missing piece in the presidential election’s jigsaw puzzle, and their platform may yet alter the dynamics of the race. They are hoping 2017 will prove as unpredictable as the year that gave us Brexit and Donald Trump.
As in the conservative primary, which saw Fillon triumph last November, all but one of the contestants are men.
Technically, it is not only a Socialist primary, with an array of satellite micro-parties joining the fray under the peculiar banner of the “Belle Alliance Populaire” (Beautiful Popular Alliance). However, only four candidates have a genuine chance of winning - all of them Socialist Party members.
The two-round primary takes place on January 22 and 29. It is open to all registered French voters, as well as foreigners and minors (aged 16 or above) who are members of one of the organising parties.