The French left adds a new candidacy to its fragmented race for the presidency

The already divided French left has one more candidacy since this Saturday. Former Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira has launched herself into the presidential race with the will, she has stated, to bring together the progressive field in primaries that, however, her main concurrent reject.

For a government “that respects us and that respects you, I am a candidate for the presidency,” announced Taubira, 69, at a ceremony held in the city of Lyon before some 400 supporters.

The one who was Minister of Justice during the government of the socialist François Hollande —recognized, among others, for promoting a law that declared slavery a crime against humanity or the law in favor of homosexual marriage— enjoys considerable popularity in a sector of the left, although the polls place it around 3% of voting intentions.

Others, especially in the Socialist Party, until today reproach him for his previous presidential attempt, in 2002, which they consider was partly responsible for the fact that the then main socialist candidate and favorite of those elections, Lionel Jospin, was narrowly eliminated in the first round and that, for the first time in the history of the fifth French Republic, an extreme right-wing candidate, Jean-Marie Le Pen, would go through to the second round, finally defeated by the conservative Jacques Chirac.

The ghosts are coming back now, especially at a time when no left-wing candidate manages to exceed 10% of voting intentions and many of them risk not even reaching the 5% necessary for a party to recover campaign expenses, including the official socialist candidate, Anne Hidalgo. Taubira’s candidacy joins those already declared by the leader of France Insumisa, Jean-Luc Mélenchon; the ecologist Yannick Jadot, the communist Fabien Roussel, the also former socialist minister Arnaud Montebourg (who could soon announce his retirement) and Hidalgo, among others.

Taubira has assured that his intention is to submit his candidacy to the popular primary process that a citizen movement is organizing for the end of the month between various left-wing candidates. “I will recognize the rules of the popular primaries and I will recognize their result,” he asserted once again this Saturday.

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Shortly after Taubira confirmed his candidacy, the popular primary team revealed the final list of candidates who had been selected in recent months by those registered in the process and who will be submitted to a single vote between January 27 and 30. In addition to Taubira, there are Hidalgo, Yadot and Mélenchon despite the fact that these three have dismissed the process, as well as the much lesser known Anne Agueb-Porterie, Pierre Larrouturou and Charlotte Marchandise. As explained in a press conference, at the moment 120,000 citizens have registered to vote, although the process will remain open until January 23. It is a figure similar to that of the environmentalist primaries from which Yadot was elected in September and only slightly lower than that of the Republican vote in which Valérie Pécresse emerged as the conservative candidate.

The popular primary process, long ignored by the main left-wing parties, gained unexpected strength when the socialist Hidalgo took a surprise turn and, in early December, proposed to her progressive rivals a primary process to agree on a capable candidate. to trace the polls. His main rivals, Mélenchon and Yadot, however, have repeatedly rejected his proposal, which Hidalgo herself ended up burying this week, by presenting her own electoral program on Thursday. The popular primaries “are 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,” declared the also mayor of Paris, despite which, those responsible for the process assure that they will hold the vote despite everything and everyone.

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