French left presidential contender Hamon strikes to rally majority

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Added On February 6, 2017

PARIS, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- After a primary victory, the clock has been ticking for French left presidential nominee Benoit Hamon to unite ranks and rally majority ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

On Sunday, Hamon said "My first task is to gather the Socialists and the broader left" to make "dreams possible."

"It does not matter if you are a minister, citizen or elected, what counts today is the horizon that we will draw together ... This is the program we want to lead together. It's that associative, collaborative left that I want to gather," he told supporters.

At the end of January, the former education minister won the left ticket to join the presidential competition after beating ex-prime minister Manuel Valls in the primary run-off which was a contest between two wings of the ruling Socialist Party.

Unlike 2011 when President Francois Hollande had managed to rally green and far-left parties behind him, severe rifts in the broader left party is challenging Hamon and hamper his presidential bid.

"Yes, there are disagreements between us as there has always been in the left," he acknowledged.

"Gathering is not requiring the presence of key faces. Rallying is the act of drawing together a common horizon," he said during his official nomination.

The 49-year-old ex-education minister resigned from Hollande's government in protest over what he said was a too liberal economic policy. He was a harsh critics to labor reforms that the ruling Socialists described it as the flagship measure to cut unemployment.

"Let us look at what the right wants to destruct, and we will know what we have done well," the left candidate said, referring to education reform and the block of EU-U.S. free trade negotiations under Hollande's governing.

"All of that goes in the right direction, but (the ruling Socialists) record has also left discontent people. We ...want to gather to transform this anger into an aspiration to something beyond us, transcends us," he added.

If elected, Hamon vowed to repeal the controversial labor reform which aim at soften job market rules and offer more flexibility to companies and block the use of 49-3 decree, a constitutional mechanism that helps the executive team to pass laws with lawmakers approval.

He also wants to recruit additional 5,000 security officers.

"Today, in the world in which we live, the clouds are numerous, the threats are heavy, the transitions that we are going to propose to the French are not without uncertainties," Hamon said.

Opinion polls said that given the ruling Socialists unpopularity, the left-wing politician has little chance of making it to the run-off round of the presidential election on May 7.