Is Benoît Hamon France’s Bernie Sanders?

Former French Primer Minister Manuel Valls went head to head with the leftist radical Benoît Hamon during France’s socialist party presidential primary last weekend. The two emerged as the most popular candidates and will face off in the next primary coming up on January 29.

Out of the seven total candidates in the first primary, Hamon scored about 36% of the vote, while Valls scored 31%. While Valls is more of a traditional left-winger, current President François Hollande’s unpopularity is obviously rubbing off on Valls, causing him to lose some faithful followers. Meanwhile, Hamon is being viewed as more of a progressive, some even considering him to be France’s version of Bernie Sanders, the American senator and presidential candidate who won most of the younger generation’s vote in the U.S. democratic presidential primaries.


Part of Hamon’s campaign is a desire to turn a new page in the French left, an idea that could inspire a lot of socialist party voters who are tired of the same old thing. Since Valls comes from the time of Hollande’s presidency, he does not have the same edge that Hamon does.

Watch as Hamon’s supporters celebrate his win on France24 with reporter Catherine Nicholson: