France’s ruling Socialist Party is set to choose its candidate for the presidential election in April, amidst growing unpopularity due to President Francois Hollande approval polls.

The two candidates Manuel Valls, former prime minster, and Benoit Hamon are both in contention for Sunday’s vote.  The result may not affect the presidential election outcome according to polls.  Both right – wing Marine Le Pen, and centrist Emmanuel Macron are ahead in the polls and are far more popular following a series of terrorist attacks and unpopular polices enacted by Francois Hollande.

Of the two candidates, Mr Hamon, 49, has seen an upswing in popularity on a platform of liberal proposals including a universal monthly income.

Mr Valls, is campaigning on his ministerial experience between 2014 to 2016 makes him a more credible and electable candidate.

Current President, Hollande, has said he will not run for election due to extremely low approval ratings.

Election Controversy

The presidential election is considered more open than many in living memory.  Francois Fillon, who until recently was favourite for the post has had to fight claims that his wife was paid for political work, which according to a French publication there was no evidence of her completing any work.

Mr Fillon has denied the allegations and has said if there was enough evidence he would drop out of the race entirely.

Centre Ground

Like many socialist parties around the world, over the last decade or two they have drifted more towards the centre.  In France the traditional values of the socialist party have been more or less lost, and politicians have come in who have no real socialist principle.

In Mr Hamon, however, does represent a shift back to the roots of the movement, like Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party, and Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party.

This could in theory recapture votes which were destined to go to Le Penn.  The French Presidential election is to be held on the 23rd April.