France's Left Picks Politician Who Calls Bernie a Role Model

Benoit Hamon will represent Socialist Party in country's presidential election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 30, 2017 10:11 AM CST
France's Left Picks Politician Who Calls Bernie a Role Model
Benoit Hamon, rising from left-wing obscurity on a radical proposal to a pay all adults a monthly basic income, will be the Socialist Party candidate in France's presidential election this spring, after he handily beat ex-Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a primary runoff vote Sunday.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

A French politician who names Bernie Sanders among his left-wing role models won an easy victory in the country's Socialist primary runoff against Manuel Valls on Sunday. Benoit Hamon will represent France's ruling Socialist Party in the country's presidential election in April-May against Conservative Francois Fillon, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, and centrist Emmanuel Macron. In taking 59% of the vote, his win serves as a resounding rejection of unpopular outgoing President Francois Hollande and Valls, his prime minister for more than two years, reports the AP. But the path forward for Hamon—who is pushing a radical proposal to give all French adults a regular monthly income and proposes legalizing pot—is littered with obstacles. Three takes on what lies ahead:

  • France24: Hamon "breathed new life into a battered ruling party that is struggling to stay alive in the shifting sands of French politics. ... In picking the boldest program, Socialist voters have certainly made a big gamble at a delicate time."
  • Guardian: "Hamon’s first challenge now is to try to stop the French Socialist party imploding between its warring leftwing and centre-left factions. He then needs to prove his candidacy can find its place in the presidential campaign in which the Socialist party is already predicted to be irrelevant ... [facing] with a possible humiliating fifth place."
  • Washington Post: "Analysts saw Hamon’s victory as something far more seismic: the likely demise of the French left ... This, experts say, is largely because Hamon promises an unrealistically utopian vision of French society unlikely to sway voters from the now-global appeal of populism and its emphasis on national identity and national security."
Read more about the five candidates here. (Read more France stories.)

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