- Title: French PM Valls praises Hollande's decision not to run
- Date: 2nd December 2016
- Summary: NANCY, FRANCE (DECEMBER 2, 2016) (AGENCY POOL) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** PEOPLE GATHERED IN INTERMINISTERIAL MEETING ON DISABILITY, BEFORE SPEECH BY FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, MANUEL VALLS VALLS ARRIVING PEOPLE GATHERED BEFORE SPEECH VALLS WALKING UP TO PODIUM TO GIVE SPEECH WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, MANUEL VALLS, SAYING: "The decision by the President of the Republic is one of a statesman. I also want to say to the President of the Republic, in a personal capacity, he knows it: my respect, and all my affection, and to also say the pride that I feel, that the ministers also feel." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, MANUEL VALLS, SAYING: "With these words, with emotion, an emotion that we share, I share, with a lot of truth, the head of state explained to our compatriots his choice, a choice reflected upon maturely and at length. Nobody can doubt that. A choice that was not easy, and a choice which calls for respect, through his dignity." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER, MANUEL VALLS, SAYING: "We must defend the record, we must defend this action, and I will do that, as I have done tirelessly in my role since 2012."
- Embargoed: 17th December 2016 12:40
- Keywords: Valls Hollande election France presidential election Socialist
- Location: NANCY, FRANCE
- City: NANCY, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVA0015B6ZGHZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE THIS EDIT CONTAINS WHITE FLASHES IN SHOTS FIVE, SEVEN AND NINE
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls praised on Friday (December 2) President Francois Hollande's shock decision not to seek re-election.
Hollande surprised the nation when he announced on Thursday (December 1) that he would become the first president since 1958 not to run for a second term.
Speculation is now rife that Valls could seek the Socialist party ticket and face the conservative party's candidate, former prime minister Francois Fillon, in the election.
"The decision by the President of the Republic is one of a statesman. I also want to say to the President of the Republic, he knows it, in a personal capacity : my respect, and all my affection, and to also say the pride that I feel, that the ministers also feel," Valls told a news conference during an Interministerial Committee on Disability in Nancy, in eastern France.
A snap opinion poll, conducted on Thursday night after Hollande' statement, showed that Socialist voters and French voters as a whole want to see Valls win the party ticket to run for president next spring.
But Hollande's decision to bow out of the contest does not change the broad expectation that any Socialist candidate - Valls included - would be eliminated in the first round of voting in April, and that the president would be chosen in a May 7 runoff between Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
"We must defend our record, we must defend this action, and I will do that. As I have done tirelessly in my role since 2012," Valls said.
The 54-year-old Valls is expected to announce his candidacy in the coming days, possibly at a left-wing convention in Paris on Saturday (December 3).
If he won the late January primaries, Valls would still face competition in the presidential election from other candidates on the left, including Jean-Luc Melenchon and former economy minister Emmanuel Macron.
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