Ex-French PM to back presidential hopeful Macron

Indo Asian News Service

Paris, March 29 (IANS) Former Socialist French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Wednesday said he would vote for the independent centrist presidential candidate rather than his own party's option in order to thwart a right-wing victory in the upcoming elections.

Valls was speaking to BFM TV when he confirmed rumours that he would back former Finance Minister, Emmanuel Macron, over Socialist Party (PS) candidate Benoit Hamon, Efe news reported.

"I'm not going to take any risks for the country, I will vote for Emmanuel Macron," Valls said.

Valls made clear he would not ally himself to or campaign for his former cabinet colleague Macron, and that his choice was based on "reason" amid a crisis in leftist French politics and the threat of the populist right.

Electoral polling in France has repeatedly suggested that far-right National Front (FN) hopeful Marine Le Pen and Macron will beat PS candidate Hamon and Francois Fillon of the centre-right Les Republicains in the first round of voting on April 23 and go head-to-head on May 7.

Valls said he thought FN was stronger than the polls suggested and warned that it would have a successful showing in the second round of voting if Fillon hurdled the first vote, said the report.

Fillon took a major tumble in the polls when he was placed under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds.

Macron left President Francois Hollande's cabinet and set his eyes on the Elysée Palace, campaigning under his independent En Marche! (Onwards!) movement.