French left risks further division as main suggestion of Hidalgo is rejected

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The proposal of the mayor of Paris and socialist presidential candidate Anne Hidalgo to organize a primary has elicited mixed reactions from left leaders, just four months before the 2022 elections. The left of the political spectrum is suffering historically low support, and is fragmented between seven candidates, including two from the far left.

“There are a lot of differences between us,” Communist Party leader and presidential candidate Fabien Roussel told BFM TV on Thursday in response to Hidalgo’s suggestion of a primary during a television interview on TF1 on Wednesday. evening.

Therefore, choosing a single candidate to represent the left for him is “not a solution”.

“It is not a person that we have to find, but the problems that unite us,” he said.

Greens leader and presidential candidate Yannick Jadot said it was “not his party’s choice” and that he would not participate in a primary.

“I will not participate in a left primary (…) because the elections are in four and a half months. You have to be a little serious in all that”, adding that he had already gone through the primary with his own party of the Greens (EELV).


Surprise factor

“She understood that her candidacy is at an impasse, and that she has difficulty in getting her ideas accepted by the public,” Jadot told Europe 1 radio on Thursday.

“There is a need for her to come out of this situation by creating a surprise.”

Polls show Hidalgo has between 3 and 7 percent of voters’ intentions, while Jadot is estimated to have between 6 and 9 percent.

Hidalgo’s idea, however, was supported by Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure, who called it a “necessary collective conscience” rather than a cry for help.

Speaking to France Inter radio, he expressed concern that “the election would be largely dominated by issues raised by the far right”.

“Everyone says they have something else to do because nobody wants to face reality. But we cannot stay in denial,” he concluded.

Arnaud Montebourg, who was Minister of Industrial Renewal from May 2012 to August 2014 under Socialist President François Hollande, was enthusiastic about the idea of ​​Hidalgo and said he was very willing to fall behind a main candidate.

“I think Anne Hidalgo’s proposal is a good one. Finally, some action,” he said, adding that although he is running independently he would make room for the stronger candidates.

Montebourg, who ran for the 2012 and 2017 presidential elections, himself called earlier Wednesday for “a rally of the left” to support a “common project” and “a common candidate”.

Two left feet

However, on the far left, the France Unbowed party (La France Insoumise, or LFI) scoffed at the idea of ​​a primary, calling it the “last offer”.

“Anne Hidalgo is not going to get by with the transmission of the losing machine that the Socialists inherited in 2016,” LFI deputy Eric Coquerel told France Info.

“Between Anne Hidalgo, who is still close to the vestiges of the François Hollande era, and us, the differences are enormous.”

The leader of France Unbowed and presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who formed an alliance with the Communists in 2012 and 2017, decided to go it alone this time.

“This is not a responsible way to act,” Hidalgo spokesperson Stéphane Troussel said in response to Jadot’s refusal.

“Does he just want to sow despair among socialists and environmentalists? he asked on Senate public television.

“What helped us win the local elections? It is to join forces.

Lack of consistency

A cautious response has also come from former President Francois Hollande himself.

“This kind of thing cannot be improvised,” he warned. “Uniting around a candidate only makes sense if there is a coherent and shared program and we know that this is not the case.

Interestingly enough, Hidalgo herself was not in favor of a primary when it came to the Socialist Party nomination, as her rival Stéphane Le Foll suggested.

A compromise was found: a vote was only taken among party members and in October, Hidalgo came out on top.

Asked about the logistics of holding a primary so close to the presidential election, Hidalgo suggested linking it to an existing initiative known as the “Popular Primary”.

The online vote, which will take place from January 27 to 30, 2022, will allow ordinary citizens to nominate the name of a public figure they would like to see stand as a candidate.



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