French Socialist sees little prospect of election win

October 22, 2016 8:25 AM EDT

French President Francois Hollande (L) and the first secretary of the French Socialist party, Jean-Christophe Cambadelis attend a symposium on re-founding democracy (Refaire la democratie) at the Hotel de Lassay, residence of the National Assembly speaker

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PARIS (Reuters) - Socialist party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis has said that on current trends none of the Socialist candidates will be able to win France's 2017 presidential election or even make it into the second round.

French President Francois Hollande's chances of being re-elected next May are seen as increasingly remote following recent revelations in a book written by two Le Monde journalists about remarks on secret matters, Islam and judges.

The Socialist Party is divided and Hollande has not yet declared he will seek a second term. An opinion poll early in October put him in 12th place among voters looking at presidential possibles.

"At this stage no putative candidate, whoever he is, seems unable to beat the right. And even pass the first round," Cambadelis said in an interview with French newspaper La Nouvelle Republique.

Opinion polls suggest that the winner of the Republican party primary vote will win the presidential election in April, most likely in a run-off against far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Francois Hollande's approval rating fell 1 percentage point to 14 percent in October, its lowest since June, according to a poll conducted by Ifop for Sunday's edition of the weekly Journal du Dimanche.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls appealed for unity at a party rally on Saturday.

"I know what our debates are, but in the end, what brings us together?" he said. "The fact that we governed together with the president and values of the Republic".

Vall's approval rating rose by 2 percentage points to 26 percent in October, its highest since March, the poll showed.

Cambadelis called for his party members to support one candidate who would be chosen during primaries.

"I think it is necessary that we should be united despite disagreements. We have the primaries to overcome all this," Cambadelis added.

Valls said the aim should be to get to the second round of elections.

"We must act, act quickly ... act now in order not to die tomorrow," he said.

(Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Simon Carraud; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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