Popular primary: Can the citizens' initiative create a union on the left?

The People’s Primary logo that tries to create a rally on the left before 2022

POLICY – This is an initiative that has already gathered 130,000 participants. “More than the ecological primary”, we welcome the organization of the “popular primary”. “We are not on such a large number, they were talking about 300,000 people before the summer,” relativizes a relative of a declared presidential candidate.

It is all the difficulty of this “popular primary” which tries, by a citizen dynamic, to have only one candidate of the left for the presidential election of 2022. An ambitious objective given the divisions which prevail between Anne Hidalgo, Jean-Luc Mélenchon or Yannick Jadot to name just a few among the seven left candidates already declared.

The project, led by young people from civil society, is reaching an important stage on Monday, October 11. At noon, the names of the ten most citizen sponsored (parity) candidates will be released.

This weekend, the names that emerged were a mix between candidates already declared and candidates from civil society. “If these names are maintained at noon, this will correspond to the objective that we have set for ourselves, that is to say that the citizens choose their candidate, without any pro or anti-party logic”, remarks Mathilde Imer, spokesperson for the Citizen Primary, who welcomes this diversity.


The participants will then be able to vote for the one or the most able to unite the left in the presidential election of 2022. “We have about a month and a half to create the conditions for a rally and that these personalities participate in the vote for the primary”, hopes Mathilde Imer. The young woman, committed to the fight against global warming, is in contact with “all the teams of declared candidates”. She hopes to create the “conditions for a rally”, so as not to leave in dispersed order for the presidential election.

For the moment, the teams of left-wing candidates who have good relations with the organizers are not voting on their participation in this vote, which goes against their individual partisan strategy. “The goals are interesting, but I wonder about the way to get there. Anne Hidalgo wants an internal vote of the PS without debate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been a candidate for a very long time and Yannick Jadot whom I support is already from a popular and citizen primary ”, answers Mounir Satouri, MEP EELV who coordinated the campaign of Yannick Jadot during the environmentalist primary.

Doubts are also being heard in the Mélenchon camp. “We had cordial exchanges, but we have an important tactical divergence: their common base excludes subjects which are dear to us and lacks ambition in particular on Europe, the retirement at 60 years or the constituent for the 6th republic ”, describes for his part Manuel Bompard, campaign director for Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The popular primary succeeded in getting the candidates and voters to sign “a common base”, supported by ten proposals that they could all bring. Among them, a “real climate law”, a “solidarity income from 18 years” or the re-establishment of the ISF. “We do not tackle subjects that annoy like Europe or secularism”, recognizes Mathilde Imer, who nevertheless welcomes these common points that they are “all ready to implement if they come to power. ”.

Nearly 200 elected officials support the initiative and will organize a large gathering on Saturday October 16 in Romainville, in Seine-Saint-Denis, in order to try to convince them.

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