Benoit Hamon surprised many by winning the Socialist Party primary back in January.
The staunchly left-wing candidate secured a clear win over France’s former prime minister Manuel Valls.
A fervent critic of austerity policies, Hamon said he wanted to bring in radical reforms to the welfare system in France by introducing a basic income for all citizens and further reducing the working week to 32 hours.
Sur les banlieues,— Laïreche Rachid (@RachidLaireche) April 11, 2017
benoithamon</a> se différencie d'<a href="https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron">EmmanuelMacron : “On n'est pas tous nés sous la même étoile.” pic.twitter.com/DJ491ZnIky
The Socialist candidate also called for the legalisation of cannabis and condemned rhetoric on the role of Islam in French society.
A former MEP (between 2004 and 2009), Hamon first entered government in 2012 as junior economy minister before being appointed education minister by Francois Hollande in 2014.
But his outspoken criticism of Hollande’s pro-market economy policy, which included reforms to French labour law that alienated large sections of the left, resulted in his resignation in August 2014.
As he entered the presidential campaign in January, Hamon inherited a deeply polarised Socialist party following five years of unpopular rule under Hollande.
Moreover, a rise of alternative candidates like the socialist dissident Jean-Luc Melenchon complicated matters further. The final nail in the coffin came from within Hamon’s own ranks – following a number of Socialist party heavyweights, former PM Manuel Valls himself defected to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.