France election: Socialists vote for presidential nominee

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    Image copyright
    Reuters

    Image caption

    Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls is favourite to win the Socialists’ nomination

    Socialist voters in France are casting ballots in a nationwide presidential primary, to decide on their nominee for the election in April.

    The candidates, from the Socialist Party and its allies, will be narrowed down to two in this first round of voting.

    The pair with the most votes will advance to a run-off on 29 January.

    Six men and one woman are taking part, including former Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

    Inside the Socialists’ battle for the future

    Mr Valls occupies the centre ground and is seen as a leading contender, but he faces stiff competition from former Education Minister Benoit Hamon, and ex-Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.

    President Francois Hollande, whose approval rating has set a new low for the office, decided not to seek re-election.

    The Socialists’ choice of nominee may also determine the future of popular independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, a charismatic ex-banker who appeals to the same moderate voters as Mr Valls.

    Image copyright
    AFP

    Image caption

    Former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is standing as an independent candidate

    Opinion polls suggest that whoever wins…

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