French Socialist ex-premier wants to join Macron's movement

Jonathan Hernandez
May 15, 2017

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron's start-up party on Thursday announced a list of 428 candidates, a lot of them political unknowns, to fight parliamentary elections that will determine his chances of putting his program into action.

Mr Valls, a centre-leaning politician in favour of relaxing labour protections, had already thrown his support behind Mr Macron before the presidential election after losing to Benoit Hamon in the Socialist primary.

Marine Le Pen, his far-right opponent in the presidential run-off, quickly conceded defeat to the 39-year-old Macron after voters rejected her "French-first" nationalism by a large margin.

The list of candidates being announced by the Republic on the Move party on Thursday marks a milestone in Macron's plans to repopulate the National Assembly with new faces and new ideas.

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. "(Vall's) voice is not insignificant, but his candidacy will be treated like anyone else's". The poor result has triggered a fierce debate within the Socialists about whether to stick with Hamon's left-wing platform or to switch back to the more centrist views of Valls and his allies.

On Monday, though, Mr Hollande gripped Mr Macron's arm before the two men walked side by side and then announced the transfer of power would take place on Sunday. I'm not living with regrets.

He has said he was aiming for an absolute majority in the lower chamber in June's elections.

A sea of jubilant supporters waving French flags celebrated outside the Louvre Museum in Paris as the extent of Macron's victory sank in.

Outgoing French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday said he accepted the resignation of the current government led by Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace.

But if another party wins a majority, the new president could be pressured to choose a prime minister from that party, a situation the French call "cohabitation".

The election offered a stark choice between Le Pen's plan to ditch the euro and break up the European Union, and the centrist Emmanuel Macron's pledge to deepen European Union integration.

Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed.

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