French leftwinger Benoit Hamon secured a resounding victory over former prime minister Manuel Valls on Sunday (29 January) as he secured the candidacy for the Socialist Party in April's presidential elections.

A former education minister, Hamon – who has been compared to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – took around 59% of the votes to Valls' 41%, results from 80% of polling stations showed. Hamon's win marks a shift back to core left-wing values and a rejection of Socialist President Francois Hollande's pro-market, centre-left policies.

Hamon's proposals include a monthly universal basic income for everybody, a reduction in the work week from 35 to 32 hours, legalising cannabis and a tax on robots. "Tonight the French left is holding its head high, is turning to the future and wants to win," he told jubilant supporters after his victory.

Hamon added: "I believe that faced with a conservative right that represents privilege and a destructive extreme right, our country needs a left that thinks of the world as it is, and not as it was, a left that can bring a future people want." Conceding defeat, Valls wished Hamon "good luck for the battle ahead" as he seeks to unite a deeply divided party.

Benoit Hamon
Benoit Hamon (R), winner after partial results in the second round of the French left's presidential primary election, reacts as he stands with former prime minister Manuel Valls (L) and French Socialist Party First Secretary Jean-Christophe Cambadelis (C) at their party headquarters in Paris on 29 January 2017 Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

According to a Financial Times report, a number of Valls' supporters are expected to turn to centrist Emmanuel Macron, who is gaining rapidly in the polls and is expected to benefit from Hamon's nomination.

A Kantar-Sofres-One Point poll showed that Macron is neck and neck with conservative candidate Francois Fillon. Macron is on 21% to Fillon's 22%.

Fillon has suffered a setback in recent days amid allegations that his wife was paid for parliamentary work that she did not do over a period of years. Fillon has denied the allegations and pledged to drop out of the presidential race if he were criminally investigated.