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Socialist heavyweights abandon their own candidate in favour of Macron

media Emmanuel Macron in Normandy on March 4, 2017. AFP/Jean-François Monier

Former Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë announced this Wednesday that he supports centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron over his own Socialist Party’s candidate, Benoît Hamon.

“We must support, with all our might, the candidate that is most likely to beat Marine Le Pen,” Delanoë explained on France Inter radio on Wednesday.

This candidate, he believes, is not his own party’s Hamon, but rather former economy minister Macron.

“The candidate that best represents my views on reform, Socialism and Europe is Emmanuel Macron,” he said.

The former Paris mayor, who described Macron as the more “realistic” contender, went on to call Hamon’s campaign platform “dangerous”, and accused him of leaning too far to the left of the Socialist party.

Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Sports Minister Patrick Kanner are also expected to break ranks with their Socialist Party to back Macron.

And the support isn’t expected to end there. Christophe Caresche, Socialist Member of Parliament (MP) who supports Macron, predicted that the centrist candidate will “haemorrhage Socialist heavyweights by the end of March”.

“Hamon has broken up the party, he’s divided it in fact,” the MP added.

Hamon struggling to gain momentum

The former economy minister is currently leading in the polls, while Hamon remains a distant fourth.

The Socialist candidate has complained that his campaign is being drowned out by the ongoing fraud scandals surrounding right-wing candidate François Fillon and far-right National Front (FN) contender Marine Le Pen.

This, he believes, is making it harder for him to counter Macron.

Regarding the media’s extensive coverage of the “fake job” Fillon investigation, Hamon said, “I can’t take it anymore!”

“Every time I want to talk about public services, or the fight against inequality, it’s the never-ending Fillon saga that’s brought up,” he said. “Enough is enough!”

Hamon’s campaign received a brief boost when Greens candidate Yannick Jadot dropped out of the race to support the Socialist candidate. But Hamon’s alliance with the Greens has done little so far to unite left-wing voters, and Socialist leaders fear that he will be unable to bring together the diverse left-wing electorate before next month’s election.

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