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Manuel Valls, former French prime minister and presidential primary candidate, reacts during a campaign visit at a studio at the Pole Pixel in Villeurbanne, France, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Robert Pratta(reuters_tickers)
PARIS (Reuters) - Former French prime minister Manuel Valls is seen losing the second round of the upcoming Socialist presidential primaries to either of his two top challengers although he will narrowly lead the first round, a BVA Salesforce poll showed on Wednesday.
Valls, who is on the right wing of his party, is seen losing to either Arnaud Montebourg, his main leftist challenger, or to Benoit Hamon, both former ministers in his government until August 2014.
"Whether against Benoit Hamon or Arnaud Montebourg, Manuel Valls is seen winning 48 percent of the vote against 52 percent for his rival," the pollsters said, adding that the result of the election remained uncertain and within the margin of error.
"Valls, however, is in a tight situation," the pollsters said.
He is seen winning the first round of the election, being contested by seven candidates, with 34 percent of the vote, the poll of over 10,000 people carried out between Jan. 13 and 16 showed.
The candidates will meet for a third and final debate on Thursday before the first-round vote on Jan. 22.
Recent polls have shown that no Socialist candidate will make it through to the second round of French presidential elections in May, with conservative candidate Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen most likely to face off against one another.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by James Dalgleish)