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Anne Hidalgo buries her proposal for a primary of the French left

The socialist presidential candidate, Anne Hidalgo, presented her electoral program this Thursday in the French capital in an environment as leaden as the Parisian sky in winter. The reason: the insistent rejection of the main left-wing candidates, especially the environmentalist Yannick Jadot, to his proposal to hold a primary process to define a single candidate capable of overcoming the almost generalized blow of all the opposition to the president's left centrist Emmanuel Macron predicted by the polls. Faced with this situation, the also mayor of Paris has considered definitively buried the process that she herself launched at the beginning of December and has promised to defend until the appointment at the polls in April a progressive program of her own that puts France “at the head renewal” that the social left is carrying out in many European countries, such as Spain or Germany.

“These primaries are not going to take place,” Hidalgo confirmed to the press by presenting a program “of the left, environmentalist, socialist, social democratic, social and republican, which far exceeds partisan considerations.” There are essentially 70 measures from all areas, among others, increasing the minimum wage by 15% (200 euros per month), setting the retirement age at 62 years, halting the construction of new nuclear power plants —but without immediately closing the current ones— and create a “solidarity” tax on wealth destined to finance the energy transition, guarantee salary parity, reinforce public education and health or promote a “more humane, supportive and effective” European migration policy.

Regarding the popular primaries that a group of citizens has called for the end of the month and that had been considered as a possible way to elect a single candidate, the socialist has indicated that “it is good” to take the pulse of the situation, but which, in no case, is the answer sought. “It is not going to make a common candidacy emerge, especially when three candidates, myself included, say that these citizen primaries are not what will allow a common candidacy to be cleared up.”

Faced with his inability to come back in the polls, Hidalgo surprised on December 8 by unexpectedly announcing a primary proposal for the left. Given that the initiative of the popular primaries was already underway, he expressed the possibility that this was the way, which is expected to be joined this weekend by one more candidacy, that of the former Socialist Justice Minister Christiane Taubira. , thus creating, paradoxically, an even larger list of left-wing candidates.

Hidalgo's proposal was quickly rejected by the majority of leftist candidates, especially the leader of France Insumisa, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the environmentalist Yadot, who this week again gave a resounding no to the idea. In the socialist ranks, it especially hurts that no from a Yadot who, five years ago, took a step back in favor of the then socialist candidate Benoît Hamon, who despite this obtained the worst results in the history of the PS. In the 2017 elections, no left-wing candidate made it through to the second round, which was disputed between Macron and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The polls for this new electoral cycle give even more devastating results for the entire field of the left: in the last one, published this Thursday by the newspaper Les Echos, the candidate who obtains best results, Mélenchon, still does not break the 10% ceiling, while Hidalgo barely achieves 4%. Despite this, the candidates have not been able, at least until now, to close positions.

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Hidalgo has not hidden this Thursday his frustration at this situation, to which is added the threat to the very existence of the PS if it falls below the minimum 5% of votes that allows a party to recover campaign expenses. “We are not going to deny it, I know that the left has difficulties and that until today nobody (…) has managed to create a notable movement of opinion”, he acknowledged. However, he added, “the real campaign begins today and no one can predict what the outcome of the election will be.” The serious faces of the team that accompanied her were not, however, an encouraging sign.

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