French presidential candidate Benoît Hamon forges political ally

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (L) with Benoît Hamon (C) and Yannick Jadot (R)
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (L) with Benoît Hamon (C) and Yannick Jadot (R) Joel Saget / AFP

With the country's presidential election just months away, Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon picked up new backing on Thursday that could help France's political left forge a united front.

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Environmentalist Yannick Jadot, a former Greenpeace director, dropped out of the race on Thursday and threw his support behind Hamon.

"My responsibility is to overcome egos... and create a new adventure in this election," the 49-year-old told France 2 public television.

"This evening I am withdrawing my candidacy," he said, speaking of a "terrific" deal with Hamon. The terms of that or other possible deals between the two, however, were not disclosed.

Hamon welcomed the announcement, saying Jadot's backing would help "prepare for the great ecological conquests of tomorrow".

Hamon has also tried to woo Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon to drop out of the race and give the left a chance of staying on in power, despite the relative unpopularity of the country's Socialist President Francois Hollande. So far the left-wing stalwart has refused to do so, though late on Thursday, Melenchon said he was "not closing any doors" and that he was ready to meet Hamon on Sunday or Monday if he so wished.

He said he was "open to discussion".

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