This is a new blow for Anne Hidalgo. While her campaign continues to slide with polls at half mast, the socialist candidate ranked fifth in the popular Primary on Sunday 30 January. By obtaining the mention “fair+” during this majority judgment ballot supposed to designate a single candidate on the left, the mayor of Paris even finishes behind the MEP Pierre Larrouturou and far behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Yannick Jadot or Christiane Taubira, the big winner of this citizens’ initiative in which nearly 400,000 voters participated.
A slap that comes a little more politically weaken the candidate invested by the Socialist Party. The latter, who had announced, like most of her opponents on the left, that she would not recognize the verdict of this online vote, was quick to react. “It could have been a moment of rallying of the left for a single candidacy, it’s one more candidacy”, she tackled on the set of France 5, Sunday evening, about the victory of the former Keeper of the Seals.
In his entourage, the elements of language have been out since Monday morning. Assignment? Temporize. “Anne Hidalgo is at work and continues to travel all over France to meet the French, such as in Clermont-Ferrand during the week or in Lille on Sunday alongside Martine Aubry”, launches Patrick Kanner, the president of the socialist group in the Senate and spokesperson for the candidate. “Anne is determined and I can tell you that adversity she knows”, adds Cédric Van Styvendael, the PS mayor of Villeurbanne, in charge of education issues in the countryside.
“Anne Hidalgo is unsinkable. With a stiff neck, firm hands and a valiant heart, she will go all the way without failing and failing.”Patrick Kanner, president of the PS group in the Senate
If other of his lieutenants recognize that this fifth place is “rough” and she wears “an additional blow to the morale of the teams”, everyone prefers to blame it on their new target: Christiane Taubira. “There are zero surprises for us. She is the only candidate who wanted to participate in this primary and wins it, don’t you find that strange?” scolds Rémi Cardon, PS senator from the Somme.
Patrick Kanner drives the point home: “When the table is set, Madame Taubira, who only represents herself, decides to invite herself. I would like to remind her that she has been absent for six years while we are fighting at the PS to win the interim elections.” The spokesperson prefers to welcome “the victory of the Social Democrats in Portugal on Sunday, the line carried by Anne Hidalgo”.
However, in off, some relatives of the candidate are beginning to doubt. If most admit “no longer believe in victory” of their champion next April, and claim to be aware that the left “will come out of this election weakened and divided as ever”, others especially fear that Anne Hidalgo will drag the whole of the PS down with her. “If Christiane Taubira climbs in the polls thanks to the momentum of the popular Primary, we may have to draw the consequences for the future of the left. In any case, I will not sacrifice the whole strategy of reconstruction from the left for one and only person”, warns a loyal supporter of Anne Hidalgo, “very worried about the rest of the campaign”.
Among the main fears of several socialist tenors: the finances of the party which could take a big hit if its candidate did not manage to cross the 5% mark in the first round of the presidential election, a compulsory condition to be able to reimburse campaign expenses. “It could mean the final death of the PS and I’m not even talking to you about the June legislative elections where we couldn’t even finance the campaign of our candidates in the constituencies”, projects a member of the campaign team.
“To say that it’s not a mess at the PS would be lying to you, but I prefer to remain loyal to my candidate and to my political family.”A socialist parliamentarian
The possible defections of elected socialists who could join the campaign of Christiane Taubira are also blowing a wind of panic in the ranks of the PS. For the moment, only Benoît Payan, the PS mayor of Marseille, has confirmed to Release that he will give his sponsorship to the former Minister of Justice. But supporters of Anne Hidalgo fear a call for air from elected officials disappointed by a candidacy that does not take off. “The 400,000 participants in this popular primary are a real strike force for Christiane Taubira. We are 50,000 to break everything”, criticizes a close friend of the socialist.
For ex-PS MP Patrick Mennucci, Anne Hidalgo will go all the way no matter what. “The challenge is not to get the 3% of Christiane Taubira. The challenge is to get back the voters of François Hollande who tend to go to Emmanuel Macron. We want to prove to the French that the social democracy is the only political line that can restore our country”, confides this close friend of Hélène Geoffroy, the PS mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin, whom Anne Hidalgo finally convinced to join her campaign. Twelve members of the team of Arnaud Montebourg, the former presidential candidate that everyone announced at Christiane Taubira, have also just joined the mayor of Paris. Enough to give a new dynamic to his campaign?