Thursday, May 19

Anne Hidalgo announces the candidacy for the Elysee with an environmental, feminist and social message | International


The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, declared herself a candidate for the French presidential elections next April on Sunday. Hidalgo (San Fernando, Cádiz, 62 years old) announced it with a little ideological speech but with ecological, feminist and social accents in a port area next to the Seine River in the Norman city of Rouen. “I am ready,” she declared at an act of the Socialist Party with a French and a European flag in the background, without emblems or references to her party. And she added: “I have decided to be a candidate for the presidency of the French Republic.”

Franco-Spanish politics, accompanied by mayors from their party, promised to put an end to “contempt, arrogance, condescension.” In his opinion, these attitudes, as well as the concentration of power in a single person disconnected from the country’s problems, have marked the five-year term in power of the current president, the centrist Emmanuel Macron. Hidalgo defended a French model based on “the consideration of life in common and respect.”

The official announcement is no surprise, but it is part of the inescapable choreography for every candidate. In the evening, the candidate planned to give an interview on the news of the public channel France 2 and —another obligatory step for any candidate— next week she will publish a book entitled A french woman (A French woman). An internal vote of the PS militancy must ratify the candidacy of Hidalgo, supported by the leadership of the party, before the alternative of the former government spokesman and former minister Stéphane Le Foll.

“We must transform our way of life and our economy, because the planet is our only refuge and source of life,” he said. “I want these mothers who educate their children alone not to be left to precariousness and insecurity. These women who have a hard time, are less paid than men, will finally obtain full and complete equality of wages ”.

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The mayor of Paris, granddaughter of a reprisal by Franco, daughter of economic immigrants who settled in France when she was two years old and French by choice, embarks on an uncertain adventure. The polls prior to the announcement of the candidacy placed it below 10%, very far from the first two positions that, in the presidential elections, give access to the second round.

All the polls, for months, predict that Macron and the leader of the extreme right, Marine Le Pen, will be the finalists in 2022. Macron is the favorite, according to the same polls.

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But the antecedent of five years ago forces to relativize these forecasts. Macron was then a hypothesis that few took seriously. And he ended up winning. It is possible that in the next few days there will be a Hidalgo effect after making his candidacy official and getting him up in the polls.

Another obstacle for the mayor of Paris is the division of the left. The populist left of La Francia Insoumise has a candidate: Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The Europa Ecología / Los Verdes party is in the process of primaries. The Socialist Party, which was on the verge of extinction when its candidate in 2017 obtained just over 6% of the vote, trusts that it has found a lifeline in Hidalgo.

Hidalgo does not belong to the category of politicians who from childhood look in the mirror and see themselves as presidents. If he won, he would follow in the footsteps of Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris before president. And he would be the first female head of state and the first born abroad.

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Hidalgo is a moderate social democrat, pro-European and defender of an idea of ​​secularism in the French style, which distanced her from the left of Mélenchon and some environmentalists, sometimes accused of complacency with Islamism. Her first difficulty will be to attract enough votes from environmentalists and mélenchonistas to impose herself as the natural candidate of the left and thus opt to qualify for the second round.

As mayor since 2014, a position she will hold during the campaign, the socialist candidate faced the Islamist attacks of 2015 and led a global city. It launched an ecological revolution with the pedestrianization of the banks of the Seine and the explosion during the pandemic of bicycle transport. At the same time, she has faced the discontent of many motorists, criticism for the dirt on the streets and insecurity and the defection in 2018 of her number two, Bruno Julliard, accusing her of ineffectiveness and lack of humility. In 2020 she was easily re-elected.

A key concept in the campaign will be that of care, protection and respect. It means, according to Hidalgo, respect for nature, for human life and the right to die with dignity, for the workers who were at the foot of the cannon during the pandemic and deserve better wages, for the children of immigration who suffer discrimination.

“I want to start by putting an end to the contempt, arrogance, condescension of those who know our lives so badly, but decide away from us, above all, all the time and without us,” he said without mentioning Macron or the revolt of the yellow vests who have embodied discontent with the president during his tenure. “This creates so much anger, so many riots, so many injustices that poison the country, that nurture mistrust and ultimately undermine democracy. The five-year period that is ending had to unite the French and has divided them like never before ”.

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Hidalgo wants to rely on the mayors of the cities that have been a stronghold of the PS during the years of crossing the desert. Faced with centralism, it proposes more local power. Faced with the concentration of decisions in the Elysee, more deliberation and dialogue with social agents and the so-called France of the territories.

And this is another obstacle for Hidalgo: his identification with Paris, a symbol in France of centralism and the distancing of rich and global cities from France of small and medium-sized cities. The road to the Elysee begins uphill.

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