French Socialist Parliament Leader May Not Back Party Candidate

  • Bartolone says he doesn’t identify with Hamon’s campaign
  • Claude Bartolone could vote for independent candidate Macron

The president of the Socialists at France’s National Assembly said he “can’t identify” with the platform of the party’s candidate, Benoit Hamon, and may not support him in his bid for the presidency.

In an interview with Le Monde released Tuesday, Claude Bartolone said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll vote for Hamon or independent candidate Emmanuel Macron in the April 23 first round of the presidential election.

The reluctance of Bartolone, one of the grandees of the Socialist party, underscores the challenge Hamon faces in uniting the party after winning the January primary. Former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who finished second in the primary, hasn’t campaigned for Hamon. President Francois Hollande hasn’t endorsed him. Several Socialist lawmakers are actively campaigning for Macron.

Hamon is running fourth in polls for the first round, well out of the running to qualify for the May 7 run-off.

Bartolone, 65, said he disagreed with many of Hamon’s positions, particularly over his call for a universal minimum wage. Hamon campaigns in Marseille Tuesday.

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