Thursday, December 8

The French socialists of Hidalgo, on the brink of the precipice

  • The polls only give a vote intention of 2% to the mayor of Paris in the presidential elections

  • The rebellious Mélenchon is the only survivor in the middle of a divided left that adds less than 30% with six candidates

The French Socialist Party (PS) face the final stretch of the campaign presidential in the ICU. The polls give an intention to vote of only 2% to Anne Hidalgo, the candidate of this centenary formation in the elections on Sunday (first round). Undoubtedly, opinion polls often fail, but with such low prospects, the dilemma seems to be between a humiliating defeat and a electoral bump. Perhaps the main consolation for socialists would be exceed 5% of the votes, which would allow them to recover electoral spending since they are in a dire financial situation.

“Together, we can deny these partial and biased polls and their commentators,” Hidalgo assured last Sunday at an electoral act in Paris, where he gathered 1,600 people, but only counted as prominent attendees the former prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the Mayor of Lille, Martine Aubri. As if she embodied the lonely captain of the titanicathe mayor of Paris concluded her rally with a symptomatic tone of defeat: “We have always faced obstacles, suffered defeats, endured setbacks and faced disappointments. But we have always continued on our path, constant, tenacious and confident. And so we will continue.” doing, no matter what!”

A flawed campaign

Since the progressive candidate became the red lantern in the polls in January, she has not raised her head. Born in San Fernando (Cadiz), Hidalgo, 62 years old, knew that a steep road awaited her when she was appointed in September, due to her image as too Parisian and as an anti-car leader. But her electoral strategy errors accentuated this decline. In fact, she is surprised that she grabbed onto the worn PS initialsquite the opposite of what he did in his successful campaign in the 2020 municipal when she managed to be re-elected at the head of the platform Paris in Common.

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His unexpected proposal in December to organize a left primaries ended up being shot in the foot, as it gave the feeling of looking for an exit door to a decadent campaign. Nor has it helped him to concentrate during the last month of the campaign on criticizing the alleged condescension towards Vladimir Putin of the rebellious Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the only left-wing candidate with options to qualify for the second round on April 24 and who benefits from a useful voting effect to the detriment of the rest of the progressive candidates.

Macron’s “grand coalition”

The Hidalgo’s erratic campaign has contributed to this critical situation, but the underlying reasons cannot be attributed to it. The leader with Spanish roots has suffered in its flesh from the bad reputation of the PS, especially among the modest and popular categories, due to the disappointing mandate of Francois Hollande. Instead of breaking with this past, the former president spoke at the end of March at a rally in Limoges. Due to the ballast hollandismthe progressive French electorate seems indifferent to the current program of the PS, which includes interesting measures such as increase the minimum wage by 15%establish a climate tax for the richest or free public transport for those under 26 years of age.

Hidalgo has also not managed to recover that fringe of the center-left that in 2017 joined the ranks of macronism. Although they might have been disappointed by the often right-leaning policies of Emmanuel Macron, they did not return to the fold of the PS. In fact, the president wants to update his.”grand coalition” between center left and center right. Recently, he obtained the support of former socialist ministers Marisol Touraine, Jean-Pierre Chevènement or François Rebsamen. As well Manuel Valls was present at last Saturday’s rally of the centrist leader in Paris.

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The unique figure of Macronthe ambitious ex-collaborator of Hollande catapulted to the Elysee in just two years, explains in part the low electoral weight of the wow in France, where the left-right axis has lost relevance in recent decades. Fragmented in up to six nominationsthe set of progressive hopefuls add up between 25% and 30% of the voting intention, while in 2012 they represented close to 44% in the first round.

Mélenchon, the surprise in the midst of decline?

In addition to Hidalgo, the greens also reach the final stretch with modest prospects. Weighed down by an uncharismatic candidate –Yannick Jadot MEP and the scarce presence of the climatic urgency in the electoral debates, the polls predict for them a result of between 4% and 6%. A similar situation is reproduced with the historical communist partywho this time does not support Mélenchon and presents his own candidate, the deputy Fabien Rousselbetween 2% and 4%.

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The other side of this left decline is melenchon. The leader of the Unsubmissive France (partners of Podemos in France) has resisted as the only progressive candidate with options. With prospects of between 14%-17%, the veteran ecosocialist leaderwhich had already been presented in 2012 and 2017, has established itself as the third man of these elections, along with Macron (26%-28%) and far-right Marine Le Pen (18%-23%). More than 2,000 cultural personalities, such as the writer Annie Ernaux, the humorist Blanche Gardin or the filmmaker Robert Guédiguian, published a manifesto on Monday asking for their vote for him.

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“I remember the moment when I decided to leave the PS and I think I made a good decision,” Mélenchon said last Sunday at a massive rally in Toulouse, attended by some 25,000 people. “What he feared above all else was that the French tradition of radical humanism (disappeared). He had this obsession that France, homeland of the great Revolution of 1789which was not made in defense of a people, but of universal humanity, will be erased from the map, from memories, in the same way that happened with the magnificent, brilliant and creative left of the Italian people”, affirmed the rebellious one, presenting himself as a pillar of resistance of the weakened French left. wow She seemed dead, but has she said her last word? We will know on Sunday.

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