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French PM: Socialists risk getting pulverized in 2017 election

Previous French media reports have said Valls would consider a presidential bid if Hollande chose not to run

Published: Updated:

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned that his Socialist party risked getting wiped out in next year’s presidential election, as he kept open the possibility in a newspaper interview of running as a candidate in the 2017 vote.

“I must remind you - we could get pulverized during the evening of the first round,” Valls told French Newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview to be published on Sunday, adding that “the left wing could die.”

Asked if he could challenge President Francois Hollande in the Socialist party’s primaries, Valls replied: “I will make my decision while examining my conscience.”

“Whatever happens, the best interests of the country will influence my decision,” Valls added in the interview.

Previous French media reports have said Valls would consider a presidential bid if Hollande chose not to run.

Earlier on Saturday, leading Socialist politician Claude Bartolone had said that Hollande and Valls should both take part in the Socialist primary election to pick the party’s candidate for next year’s presidential race.

The comments from Bartolone, head of the lower house of parliament, came as polls suggest the divided French left faces defeat at the hands of a center-right candidate or far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the election next April and May.

The center-right Les Republicains party will choose its own candidate on Sunday, with former Prime Minister Francois Fillon in pole position. The Socialist primaries take place in January.