Opinion

French Legislative Race: Valls Denied Candidacy Under Macron’s Party

By Rachid Mouzouni

Rabat - Former French PM Manuel Valls will go it alone in the June legislative elections after having been denied candidature under Macron’s Republic on the En Marche party banner.

Valls expressed his desire to join the new government under En Marche, but his name did not appear on Macron’s candidate slate revealed on Thursday.

Jean-Paul Delevoye, the head of the investiture committee in charge of choosing Macron’s party candidates, told Europe1 that Valls’ three mandates in parliament put him outside the En Marche criteria to run for parliament under its banner.

Valls, beaten by the socialist leader Benoit Hamon in the left-wing primaries, refused to endorse his rival. Instead, he pledged his support for the centrist Emmanuel Macron, thus reneging on his promise of backing up whoever won the primaries.

Benoit Hamon supporters accused Valls of betrayal. Hamon described his behavior as “dishonorable,” and former industry minister Arnaud Montebourg tweeted that Valls was a “man without honor” whose promises are worth nothing.

Emmanuel Macron speaking to his team on the phone in a documentary broadcast by the French TV channel TF1 said, “If there is a traitor who betrayed Francois Holland, it is Valls.”

Valls criticized Holland’s book in which the former French president published his disclosures. The Canard Enchaîné newspaper quoted the former prime minister saying that the book was a catastrophe and even a political suicide.

Valls also declared that the Socialist party, to which he belongs, is “dead and gone”. That statement infuriated party members.

To avoid a standoff with the former prime minister, Macron decided not to field a candidate in Valls’ constituency.

Valls has much in common with president-elect Macron. Both politicians agree on liberalism, free trade, European policy and globalization. There is, however, a rift between them: secularism. Macron advocates a modern approach of secularism, which aims to combat the dominance of a certain religion over public space, while Valls favors the traditional assimilation method. He, unlike Macron, wants to ban the hijab at universities.

Valls has welcomed En Marche’s choice and decided to run as a “free man.” He asked all the reformists, progressives, republicans, democrats and those who want the newly elected president to succeed in guaranteeing a majority in the lower house of parliament to join him for the June 11 poll.

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