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French Socialists Vote as Turmoil Engulfs Fillon

French Socialists Vote  as Turmoil Engulfs FillonFrench Socialists Vote  as Turmoil Engulfs Fillon

France's Socialists voted on Sunday to pick their candidate for this year's presidential polls, as a fresh scandal engulfed the election's conservative frontrunner Francois Fillon.

Socialist voters headed to polling stations from Sunday morning for the primary runoff vote between left-winger Benoit Hamon and centrist ex-prime minister, Manuel Valls, AFP reported. Hamon, a 49-year-old former education minister, won the first round last weekend and has dominated the race with his radical proposals on work, state aid and the environment.

But Valls, 54, says his experience makes him a more credible choice and claims his rival's tax-and-spend program would condemn the party to inevitable defeat. Whoever wins is expected to face an uphill task with polls showing the Socialist candidate being eliminated in the first round of the election in April after five years of unpopular rule by Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Polls currently suggest Fillon is most likely to win, ahead of far-right leader Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron.

The top two candidates from the April 23 first round will go through to the final vote on May 7.

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