Bad weather in Charente. On a pilgrimage to Jarnac on the tomb of François Mitterrand, on January 8, Anne Hidalgo shelters under her umbrella. The Socialist candidate is exhausted for the umpteenth time pleading for a left-wing primary. In vain: his opponents, Yannick Jadot in the lead, constantly oppose him an end of inadmissibility, between annoyance and contempt, while the next day, Christiane Taubira will add his candidacy. What do setbacks and disunity matter? “Anne has a stiff neck, a firm hand and a valiant heart”, formulates and repeats, to whoever will listen, the boss of the socialist senators, Patrick Kanner.
→ ANALYSIS. Presidential 2022: Taubira-Hidalgo, the war of nerves
What could have pushed the mayor of Paris, just re-elected after a difficult campaign, to take control of the socialist liner? The shipwreck promised to him is historic. “2% is 600,000 votes! exclaims Patrick Kanner. We fell lower than Jean Lassalle, it’s surreal. » However, “Anne Hidalgo never sought to pose as an expiatory victim of the PS”, assures his spokesman, Boris Vallaud. before greeting “the courage of one who has always remained faithful to the old house” since his debut in the cabinet of the Minister of Labor Martine Aubry, in 1997.
Her strength of character, she draws it from her heritage: “When your whole family has fled Francoist Spain, socialism is synonymous with hope”, emphasizes her husband, Jean-Marc Germain. Anne Hidalgo will however have hesitated before giving battle. After the withdrawal of Bernard Cazeneuve, “the candidate deemed legitimate internally until the summer”, according to Patrick Kanner, the city councilor let himself be persuaded by a generation of newly elected socialist mayors. Unthinkable, then, that the “left of government” is not represented in this presidential election… Except that this left is Lilliputian.
In front of journalists who question the viability of a social democratic candidacy, the daughter of Spanish immigrants systematically replies: “I’m not in denial, I’m in combativeness. » A stubbornness that stems less from blindness than from a conception of commitment acquired during her years of catechism in Lyon, assures the journalist Serge Raffy, who has become her biographer (1), who sees in her nothing less than“a missionary”.
Press on “the socialist militants, the real ones, who are always there”, Anne Hidalgo continues her campaign, laborious but concentrated: revalorization of work, investment in health and education, cause of women, renovation of buildings to respond to the climate emergency… Concrete proposals, but inaudible.
“Anne sees herself being tortured slowly, according to polls and betrayals”, recognizes Patrick Kanner, who believes that the socialist candidate will have had “the honor of carrying the torch of a responsible left to the end”without departing from an impassive smile. “If it’s a mask, then she never takes it off in front of us,” notes its treasurer, Marie-Pierre de La Gontrie.
A stake in his political reputation
Anne Hidalgo, the former labor inspector, only knows work. “Never is he brought to trial for incompetence”, notes Boris Vallaud. By jeopardizing her political reputation in the presidential election, the mayor of Paris, who is facing fierce opposition in the capital, has taken a significant risk. “Disproportionate”, some judge. “Anne is not in the day after. His mental horizon is April 10, 2022,” assures Marie-Pierre de La Gontrie.
→ FIND the results of the 2022 presidential election as soon as they are officially published, municipality by municipality
In the aftermath of the first round, he will have to turn to three other campaigns: rebuilding the Socialist Party – “closer to burial than to resurrection”, quips the defector Jean-Yves Le Drian -, mobilize for the legislative elections and make the 2024 Olympic Games a success for the city of Paris. Another battle.