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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

French left snubs primary offer from socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo

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Several left-wing presidential candidates on Thursday rejected Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s offer to hold an open primary between them, smashing her attempt to unite a “fractured” French left and pick a single candidate more likely to qualify for the second round of the upcoming French presidential election.

“Whatever happens, I will not take part in a left-wing primary,” Greens candidate Yannick Jadot told Europe 1. “The presidential election is in four and a half months and we have to be a bit serious.” Jadot polls at 7 percent, according to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls.

In a surprise interview on national TV Wednesday, Hidalgo said she was willing to participate in a primary between left-wing presidential candidates as her current presidential bid has failed to take off. POLITICO’s Poll of polls puts the Paris mayor at 4 percent.

Former Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who’s polling at 2 percent as an independent candidate, held the same line as Hidalgo, saying he was “pleased with the initiative taken by Anne Hidalgo following my appeal.” Shortly before Hidalgo’s interview, Montebourg appealed to his left-wing counterparts in a letter: “I am ready to offer my candidacy to a common project and a common candidate,” he wrote.

However, the communist candidate Fabien Roussel — who is polling around 1 percent — hit out at both Hidalgo and Montebourg: “if you don’t know what to do, if you doubt your candidacy, join us,” he said on Franceinfo Thursday morning.

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was the best faring candidate on the left in 2017 with 19.58 percent of votes — and who is currently polling around 9 percent — has always been opposed to the idea of a primary. “Why would I participate in a primary when we don’t think alike?” he recently told French daily Libération. “Do they want to get out of the European treaties? … Do they want to get out of nuclear power?”

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