French PM Manuel Valls announces 2017 presidential bid
"I am a candidate for the presidency of the republic," Valls said at his headquarters in the Parisian suburb of Evry.
Je suis candidat à la présidence de la République. MV— Manuel Valls (@manuelvalls) December 5, 2016
"I want to give everything for France," he stressed, adding that he “cannot be Prime Minister while being a candidate," he said. The 54-year-old Spanish-born prime minister announced that his government will resign on Tuesday.
Valls wrote on Twitter that his candidacy “is also a revolt against the idea that the left is disqualified from this presidential election.”
During his speech, Valls adopted an assertive tone, stating that he is running for president because he wants “an independent France … inflexible in its values [when] faced with the China of Xi Jinping, the Russia of Vladimir Putin, [and] the America of Donald Trump.”
The PM said that he believes himself to be the politician with the right experience for the present international scene.
Speculations about Valls joining the race began last week after President Francois Hollande said that he will not be running for a second term.
The French Socialist Party is to hold a two-round primary in January to choose its presidential candidate.
The first round of the French presidential vote is scheduled for April 23 next year with a run-off on May 7.
It is going to be hard race for the left after Hollande became the most unpopular French president in history, with an approval of just 4 percent in November.
The president’s rating crumbled due to austerity, an influx of refugees, and deadly terror attacks on French soil, which authorities were unable to prevent.
Polls currently suggest that Valls will likely win the Socialist primary, but would trail behind Marine Le Pen from the far-right National Front and Francois Fillon from the right-wing Republican party.
According to the latest surveys, Le Pen is likely to triumph in the first round of the election, but would, eventually, lose in the run-off to Fillon, who was considered an underdog before convincingly beating favorite Alain Juppe in the primaries.
Sixty-two-year-old Fillon pledges to slash public spending, raise the retirement age, extend the working week, reduce taxes and normalize relations with Russia.
It’s hard to rank Valls’s chances to become the leftist presidential candidate “as there are so many competitors fighting him,” Laurent Jacobelli from the Debout La France Party told RT.
“The question is why are there so many Socialists thinking that they could be agood president of the French Republic? The key is that President Hollande has been such a pathetic president that everybody in the Socialist Party think he can do better,” he said.
Jacobelli stressed that Valls’s chances of, eventually, claiming presidency in France may be seriously hampered by him being part of Hollande’s team.
“Manuel Valls is Francois Hollande's lookalike. He did the same policy hand by hand with Francois Hollande. He was his prime minister. And we had enough – five years – of Francois Hollande. The French citizens will never elect Hollande's lookalike,” he explained.