PARIS: French voters want to see Prime Minister Manuel Valls secure the Socialist Party ticket to run for presidential election next year, an opinion poll showed on Friday, hours after President Francois Hollande announced that he would not seek a second term.
Valls broadly shares the pro-business leaning that prompted many left-wing voters to turn their back on Socialist Hollande after voting him into power in 2012.
The flash poll, conducted by Harris Interactive after Hollande said last night he would not run, showed a majority of respondents want to see Valls win a primary the Socialist Party will hold in January.
He was the preferred candidate of 24 percent of respondents, versus 14 percent who want to see left-wing firebrand rival Arnaud Montebourg win. Six other candidates were offered as choices, and 47 percent of people said they did not want any of the eight.
Among respondents who considered themselves sympathisers with the left, Valls was again the most popular, on 33 percent versus 20 for Montebourg. Among Socialist party respondents, the score was 57 percent for Valls versus 15 percent for Montebourg.
(Reporting by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus)