French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has announced he is stepping down from his position and will contest the country's presidential election.

"I am candidate for the presidency of the Republic," Mr Valls said, announcing he will contest a primary in January to seek the Socialist nomination.

Last week Mr Valls' deeply unpopular Socialist party colleague Francois Hollande announced he would not be seeking re-election, paving the way for the prime minister to seek the nomination.

The left-wing primary takes place on 22 and 29 January.

However Mr Valls will have his work cut out if he is to become president as all recent polls have predicted that neither Mr Hollande nor any other Socialist candidate would make it past the first round of the election.

They predict a run-off battle between centre-right candidate Francois Fillon and the leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen.