The Latest: French Socialist candidate struggles to unite

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2017 file photo, the socialist candidate for the French presidential election Benoit Hamon delivers a speech during a meeting in Arras, northern France. Hamon is struggling to keep party leaders united behind his candidacy amid division over economic views.(AP Photo/Michel Spingler, File)
File - In this Feb. 27, 2017 file photo, French Socialist presidential hopeful Benoit Hamon enters his car after a meeting with unionists of the General Confederation of Labour (CGT) at a fast-food restaurant, in Paris, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Hamon is struggling to keep party leaders united behind his candidacy amid division over economic views. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

PARIS — The Latest on France's presidential campaign (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

French Socialist hopeful Benoit Hamon is struggling to keep party leaders united behind his candidacy amid division over economic views.

Hamon will hold a rally in the southern city of Nice on Wednesday, a day after former Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he wouldn't give him his endorsement for the April-May election.

Hamon defeated Valls in the Socialist primary in January.

He is now campaigning on a hard-left economic platform that contrasts with more pro-business views of some center-left leaning Socialists, including Valls.

Valls didn't say if he would support independent centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron instead.

Polls show Macron, along with far-right leader Marine le Pen, is likely to advance to the second round of the presidential election, while Hamon could be eliminated in the first round.

___

10:05 a.m.

French presidential candidate Francois Fillon, facing charges in an investigation of taxpayer-funded jobs his wife and children received but allegedly never performed, says the justice system is being manipulated to affect the election.

In an interview Wednesday with Radio Classique, Fillon said he believed the goal was to ensure "that the right and the center have no candidate. That way it will be simpler: It will be a debate between the left and Madame (Marine) Le Pen."

A top contender in a French presidential election never has reached such a critical step in a criminal investigation, yet Fillon has vowed to keep campaigning less than six weeks before the first-round vote.

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