Less than a month to the first round of the French presidential election, current frontrunner Emmanuel Macron received a key endorsement and outgoing President Francois Hollande looked forward to his retirement.
Here are three things that happened in the campaign on Wednesday:
- Socialist heavyweight backs Macron -
Former prime minister Manuel Valls endorsed the centrist Macron, becoming the most high-profile Socialist to back the 39-year-old ex-banker and former Socialist minister over the party's own nominee.
Valls' support was seen as a mixed blessing for Macron, giving him the backing of a leading politician but weakening his claim to represent a break with the past.
Macron quit the Socialist government last year to form his own movement, En Marche (On the Move), saying he wanted to shake up the political class.
- Jilted party 'sad', but not out for blood -
Socialist Party chief Jean-Christophe Cambadelis said he was "sad" he couldn't stop Valls endorsing Macron, but warned against an internal purge, saying it could hurt Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon.
A "Socialist Saint-Barthelemy" would be a bad idea, he said, referring to a 16th-century massacre that bloodied the streets of Paris at the height of the wars of religion.
No one should be "stigmatised, excluded, cut", he said in a letter to Socialist party members.
However, Hamon himself said Socialist defectors had "stabbed him in the back" and that those attracted to this "morbid game" should be punished.
- L'apres-Hollande, in his own words -
"I'm not afraid of the void," outgoing President Francois Hollande said while wrapping up an Asian tour in Malaysia.
The 62-year-old Socialist leader, who decided in December not to stand for re-election, said he would read and travel a lot and "be fully myself" once freed of his presidential obligations.