“Build a fairer France”. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo , has justified with these words her candidacy for the French presidential elections of 2022 . As planned, the leader with Spanish roots has made official this Sunday in Rouen that she will lead the Socialist Party in the race to the Elysee.
“Today, I am prepared. For this reason, with humility, I have decided to be a candidate for the presidency of the French Republic. I am a candidate to offer a future to our children, to all our children,” she assured during a short speech in front of some 200 people, many of them elected Socialists and members of his team.
“Today in the port of Rouen I think of my father who was a worker in the Cadiz shipyards. I also think of my mother, a seamstress,” Hidalgo, 62, explained about his Spanish origins . The socialist aspirant does not hesitate to evoke her modest roots – she was born in San Fernando (Cádiz) and emigrated with her parents to France when she was two years old – to break the stigma of being part of a Parisian elite, far from the working and middle classes low. The announcement of his candidacy from Rouen , in Normandy (north-west), was also interpreted in this sense.
“The five-year period that is ending should unite the French, but it has divided them as never before. It had to solve social problems, but it has accentuated them. It had to protect our planet, but it has turned its back on ecology,” Hidalgo recalled in a criticism. the balance sheet of Emmanuel Macron .
The socialist aims to win back a part of the center-left electorate that was key in the victory of the centrist leader in 2017. Many of these progressive voters were disappointed with the neoliberal reforms and tough policies on the issue of young president’s safety.
Soar the flight
However, a difficult road awaits Hidalgo . It will have to soar the flight of a French socialism immersed in a process of decline. The radical socialist Benoît Hamon only achieved 6% of the votes in the 2017 presidential elections. The PS again repeated this meager percentage in the European elections of two years ago.
But it resisted in the last municipal and regional elections and continues to be one of the parties with the greatest local power in France. To achieve a comeback of social democracy , the mayor proposes to combine social justice , environmentalism and the values of the Republic.
“We must reinvent our French model weakened by multiple crises,” she defended in Rouen, where she vindicated her experience as Parisian mayor since 2014: “I know how difficult it is to exercise power.” In addition to the “ecological transition”, which should not “be done to the detriment of the middle classes and popular categories,” he wants to confront “inequalities” and allow everyone to “live better with their work.”
In his book Une femme française , which will hit bookstores next Wednesday, he proposes to increase low salaries by 15% and double that of teachers. According to the latest polls , Hidalgoit would only get between 7% and 9% of the votes, being almost tied with the probable candidate of the greens (7% -8%) and with Jean-LucMélenchon (7% -13%), leader of the France Insoumise, Podemos partners in France.
In addition to its fragmentation, the left faces other obstacles such as the difficulty of the socialists to break “with the terrible heritage of Hollande.” “His mandate was catastrophic and left a very negative image of what a government in the hands of the socialists means,” he explains to El Periódico.the political scientist Christohpe Bouillaud.
“There is a problem of rupture between the socialist elites and their traditional electorate. The PS has become a formation of progressive bourgeois and people with high educational levels. The workers do not recognize themselves with this type of party of intellectuals,” explains the analyst Luc Rouban, researcher at the prestigious CNRS. Achieving a reconciliation between the left and the working classes will be one of Hidalgo’s great challenges. Above all, if you want to seriously aspire to become the first female president of France.