Jan. 30 (UPI) -- In a come from behind victory in the French left's presidential primary, voters chose Benoît Hamon, though few think he has a chance to make it out of the runoff round of the general election.
Hamon beat out Manuel Valls, a former prime minister in the Socialist Party, by 17 points based on his stronger platform among French Socialists, which includes a universal basic income, a surplus approach to improving jobs and the economy and a plan to push drivers from diesel cars to those using renewable energy.
Hamon won with 58 percent of the vote to Valls 41 percent. His victory represents a chance to break away from Francois Hollande's government, seen by some as failing to solve economic issues because he capitulated too often to the pro-business proposals of right-leaning politicians.
"Tonight the left has picked its head up and turned toward the future," Hamon said in a victory speech to his supporters.
The vote puts Hamon solidly in fifth for the first run-off behind far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the independent Emmanuel Macron, who is seen as more of a centrist after serving in Hollande's government who embraces more free-market philosophies, as well as the two leading conservative candidates.
Polling currently puts far-right National Front Party leader Marine Le Pen in first at 26 percent, conservative candidate François Fillon in second with 25 percent and Macron at around 21 percent.
The first round of France's general presidential election will be held April 23, with the top two vote candidates facing off in the the runoff vote scheduled for May 7.