Speed Reads

France Votes

French leftist candidate Benoit Hamon wins Socialist presidential nomination

On Sunday, Benoit Hamon easily won the presidential primary runoff to represent France's ruling Socialist Party in upcoming elections, beating more centrist former Prime Minister Manuel Valls 58 percent to 41 percent. Hamon, a former education minister, was the most left-leaning of the seven candidates in last week's first round, and he surged to frontrunner status by promising to champion a universal income for all French citizens, legalize marijuana, scrap a labor law pushed through by President Francois Hollande, and bring other political change. The Los Angeles Times calls Hamon "a Gallic Bernie Sanders," though he is only 49 and an actual socialist.

Hollande's deep unpopularity is expected to hurt the Socialists in the spring election, against center-right Republican Francois Fillon, far-right National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, and independent former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. Hamon urged other leftist parties to unite behind him.