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Socialist primaries in France are a shipwreck in progress

After five years of a François Hollande presidency, the Socialist Party as well as the remnants of the other leftist parties in France, are in a very dire situation.

The ousting of Dominique Strauss-Kahn five years ago has killed the last hope for a ‘providential man’, and opened the reign of the ‘second knives’, of which Hollande is the king.

As a result, for the time being, the leftist candidates in the upcoming Socialist primaries and presidential election are: Manuel Valls (France’s acting prime minister), Arnaud Montebourg (former minister of economy), Vincent Peyon (former minister of education), Benoit Hamon (also a former minister of education), Marie-Noëlle Lienemann (a former socialist senator), Gérard Filoche (an ex-trotskyist of the communist league), and two ecologists.

Then there is Emmanuel Macron, the unknown joker. He has refused to take part in the primary and will run as an independent candidate. He is popular among a part of the French bourgeoisie and the poles give him decent figures. In France, however, succeeding without the backing of a political party is an impossible task. He has no charisma, no program, and no chance of winning. Yet with the overall ideological and political disarray in France, he still has a chance to disturb the game.

Lastly, there’s Jean-Luc Melenchon – an old timer ex-trotskyist, who was recently endorsed by the Communist Party. His positions against the establishment, the EU, and the influence of the United States over French diplomacy have a positive echo in the working class, which is reflected in the polls.

Manuel Valls recently made a point about the ‘irreconcilable left’, noting that all of the candidates are on different political platforms and at war with each others.

In fact, Valls seems to be the favorite to win the Left primary and is at the moment backed by the Socialist Party. Politically speaking, he is not much different from Hollande – extremely ambitious, and without any vision or an ideological backbone. 

But even Valls doesn’t stand a chance in making it to the second round of the general election, which will probably play out between François Fillon and Marine Le Pen.

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Jean-Michel Cosnuau
French political analyst and writer atThe Duran