Former minister Taubira wins French left-wing ‘citizens’ primary’

Former minister Taubira wins French left-wing ‘citizens’ primary’

January 30, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – Former French justice minister Christiane Taubira on Sunday won a primary poll launched by left-wing citizens ahead of this year’s presidential election and urged other left-wing candidates to unite ahead of the vote, the organisers said.

The so-called “citizens’ primary” has no binding consequences for the left’s presidential challengers because most candidates refused to recognise initiative, each defending their own corner.

    Taubira, 69, who was justice minister under former Socialist President Francois Hollande, only threw her hat into the ring earlier this month and had said she would withdraw her candidacy if she did not win the primary.

    Her victory leaves the left deeply fragmented three months ahead of the vote with at least six candidates running on left-wing tickets.

Taubira said she would call the other candidates and urged unity.

“Our common fate requires union and convergence,” she told supporters after the results. “So I will tell them, with respect, that I know their reluctance but that I also know their intelligence and their sense of the general interest.”

Taubira did not explicitly call on her rivals to withdraw.

Organisers of the primary said they had wanted to identify the individual who best represented the left’s democratic, social and ecological values.

The centre-left Socialist Party has struggled to rebuild since 2017, when President Emmanuel Macron dynamited the political landscape that had endured through the post-war era.

    In a sign of how far the party has fallen, its candidate, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, is drawing just 3% of voter support in opinion polls, level with the communist challenger and below the threshold needed for the state to reimburse the party’s campaign costs.

    The Greens, who won control of some of France’s largest cities in 2020, have failed to build their local platform. Their candidate Yannick Jadot is polling at 5-7% voter support.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide and Richard Lough; Editing by Toby Chopra)