Former French prime minister Manuel Valls said today he wanted to be a candidate for newly elected president Emmanuel Macron’s centrist movement in next month’s legislative elections. The statement from Macron’s former boss — Macron was economy minister when Valls was premier — shows how the political map is being re-drawn in France in the wake of the 39-year-old’s crushing victory over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen on Sunday. “I will be candidate for the presidential majority and I wish to join the list (of candidates) of his movement,” Valls, a Socialist, told RTL radio.
“Because I am a man of the left, because I remain a Socialist, I am not going to disown 30 years of my political life,” Valls said. “I want Emmanuel Macron to succeed.” It remains to be seen whether Macron’s newly renamed “Republique en Marche” (the Republic on the Move) movement will accept Valls as a candidate. The new president has said he wants to break with the traditional left-right political axis in France and Valls is inextricably linked to unpopular outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande.
Valls resigned as prime minister to launch his own presidential bid but in a shock result was defeated in the Socialist Party’s primary in January by left-wing candidate Benoit Hamon. Hamon went on to make a disastrous showing in the presidential election, being eliminated in the first round in fifth place. “This Socialist Party is dead, it is behind us,” Valls said today.
Macron’s year-old movement — it does not even have the status of a party yet — has said it will field candidates in all 577 seats for the two-round parliamentary elections on June 11 and June 18. But many analysts believe the centrist movement is unlikely to win a majority and will be forced to govern in a coalition.