The former prime minister, Manuel Valls, has succeeded on Sunday to proceed to the Jan. 29 run-off of the French Socialists’ presidential primary, right behind his former education minister, Benoit Hamon.
Early results from around 3,090 of 7,520 polling stations on Sunday showed Hamon leading with 36.2 percent and Valls in second place with 31.31 percent of the votes.
Arnaud Montebourg, the anti-austerity former finance minister, who was leading in surveys, conceded his defeat — he came in third — and endorsed Hamon in the run-off next Sunday.
Current turnout estimates vary between 1.7 million and 1.9 million according to projections by Itele and BFMTV broadcasters. It is seen as an “honorable” turnout as the Socialist Party was aiming for participation to be between 1.5 million and 2 million.
Opinion polls, however, show the divided Socialists failing to get past the first of the two-round presidential election set for April 23 and May 7.
Indicators point to independent candidate and former economy minister under President Francois Hollande, Emmanuel Macron, conservative candidate Francois Fillon and far-right leader, Marine Le Pen as competing for the first two spots of the first round.
A Fillon-Le Pen presidential run-off has been considered the most likely scenario but certain surveys have shown a surging Macron.