Presidential on the left: when civil society steps in

“If we leave disunited, we are the dumbest left in the world”, already warned the first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, in September 2020. A year later, despite several meetings between the different political forces of the left, from the Greens to the Communists through the Socialists, the union is facing a wall. The ecologists do not budge: they will present a presidential candidate, and the Socialists, reinvigorated by the regional ones, intend to position themselves as the only government party on their side of the political scene.

So, tired of these battles of egos and devices, a handful of activists and personalities from civil society decided to take the presidential destiny of the left in hand. This is the project of the Popular Primary, born under the name of 2021 or never , launched by activists Mathilde Imer and Samuel Grzybowski, which aims to designate, via an online sponsorship platform and then a primary process, a common candidate for the left in 2021. “This approach was born from the desire to do politics differently, so that we do not find ourselves in a dead end with a pre-announced Macron-Le Pen duel, details Mathilde Imer. The idea is to produce a base common ideas on three main axes: ecology, social justice and democratic renewal. ”

Taubira and Ruffin are the most in demand The principle: allow citizens to sponsor a certain number of candidates potentials through the Popular Primary platform. The five women and five men who have collected the most sponsorships will be able to participate in the final phase of the primary, which will take place from 16 to 21 November. For now, if several personalities stand out, the most popular belong more to the category of outsiders. We find, among women, the former Keeper of the Seals Christiane Taubira who prances at the head of the sponsorships with more than 000 000 voice, followed by the ecologist Sandrine Rousseau, and among men, rebellious deputy François Ruffin, followed by economist Gaël Giraud. Anne Hidalgo, Eric Piolle, Jean-Luc Mélenchon or Yannick Jadot are also part of the cast, but do not occupy the first places.

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For now, the organizers of the People’s Primary claim 40 participants on the platform and are well aware that, in order to weigh, it will be necessary, at a minimum, to double the number of participations. “Our goal is to achieve 220 people before the end of the sponsorship phases “, advances Mathilde Imer, relying on the 220 support Jean-Luc Mélenchon on his campaign site. Not to play the part without the political apparatuses, but to oblige them to comply with new rules of the game, it is all the stake of the primary citizen. “We offer them something that they do not like, because they all need to exist at the moment, and are not happy to be faced with their own contradictions”, slip the organizers.

“The ecologists have sounded the death knell for any joint candidacy”

At the PS, where it has long been a question of union, we look at the development of the project out of the corner of the eye, while preparing, in parallel, a very socialist candidacy, while holding the environmentalists responsible for the failure. “We were very involved in the initial process to build the base of common ideas, assures Christophe Clergeau, in charge of citizen initiatives at the party. But the decision of environmentalists to organize their own primary sounded the death knell for any possibility of common approach. We have therefore entered a phase where each training will have its own candidate. ”

However, all agree on one fact: the problem will continue once this internal designation process for each party has come to an end. And in the fall the question will be the same: what method should be adopted to ensure that a single candidacy emerges naturally and to avoid a departure in dispersed order?

“We have been in contact with them for several months, we assure environmentalists. But they are not doing the same thing as us. Our project is simple: we want a environmentalist candidacy for the presidential election, and this is not the meaning of the popular primary. ” “It can leave this primary a candidate who would not be environmental, and it is a risk that we are not ready to take”, adds a relative of Delphine Batho, who is one of the five women acclaimed by the platform. Hunt the natural, it comes back at a gallop. “All initiatives can always see the light of day, nothing will ever prevent the different camps of the left from going to war, because that is their nature,” laughs a socialist framework for whom the idea of ​​a common candidacy has always part of utopia. History is written: everyone will go their own way, and defeat is assured. ”

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Robin Rivaton


Jean-Laurent Cassely

Applied Economy

Jeans- Yves Archer


By Jean-Marc Jancovici