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Hollande is applauded for not seeking re-election as Valls waits in the wings

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By Euronews
Hollande is applauded for not seeking re-election as Valls waits in the wings

<p>He did the right thing…</p> <p>That is the feeling of French citizens, it seems, with a snap poll showing <a href="http://www.sudouest.fr/2016/12/02/huit-francais-sur-dix-approuvent-le-choix-de-hollande-2588364-710.php">eight out of ten support President Francois Hollande’s shock announcement</a> on Thursday that he won’t be seeking a second mandate in next year’s election.</p> <p>All eyes now are on Prime Minister Manuel Valls. He has not confirmed he will be running but few doubts remain. </p> <p>Accused of helping push the unpopular president to the exit door, Valls, 54, has described Hollande’s decision as “the choice of a statesman”.</p> <p>He says he will defend the government’s record and has done so since the Socialists came to power in 2012.</p> <p>A former interior minister who has been regarded as France’s “top cop”, Valls broadly represents the centrist economic stance that Hollande adopted two years into his term.</p> <p>The Socialists face a tough battle over whether they should be more centrist or veer further to the left to try and regain the popularity they have lost since Hollande was elected in 2012.</p> <br /> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fr"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Manuel Valls has a new mission… saving the French Socialists from electoral collapse <a href="https://t.co/7pGpjItbxU">https://t.co/7pGpjItbxU</a> <a href="https://t.co/0JyKXDeT98">pic.twitter.com/0JyKXDeT98</a></p>— Bloomberg (@business) <a href="https://twitter.com/business/status/804709979584417792">2 décembre 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <br /> <p>Primaries in January will select the party’s candidate. But whoever it is, pollsters predict he or she won’t make it through to the decisive second round run-off where the centre-right’s candidate Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front are expected to go head to head.</p>