Manuel Valls, French PM Resigns, to Focus on Election

manuel Valls

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has stepped down to focus on running for president in next year’s election and has been replaced by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

Valls resigned Tuesday, a day after announcing his candidacy after President Francois Hollande decided not to run for a second term last week.

Valls hopes to unite Socialists and give the left a chance to stay at the Elysee Palace despite current opinion polls suggesting the second round of the election could pit Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front, against conservative Francois Fillon.

The 53-year-old Cazeneuve is a close ally of Hollande and became a popular figure in French politics over the past two years as the champion of the fight against Islamic extremism in his interior minister role.