Socialist Party: implosion soon?

Political enthusiasts no doubt remember the socialist rebels under the mandate of François Hollande. Their credo? fight an alleged right-wing drift in the second part of the five-year term. A few years later, a new garland undermines a festival of roses that is weaker than ever. This time it is the line too far to the left, materialized by the alliance with disobedient France, that is the source of the dispute.

The Roots of Anger

It all starts on the evening of May 5. In Ivry-sur-Seine, the party’s headquarters, the National Council of the PS endorses with 62% the electoral agreement that created the new Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes). A union that for several reasons not only makes people happy internally. Morally, the agreement alarms universalists, pro-EU and social democrats who denounce an alliance with communitarians, vague views on secularism or disobedience to community treaties. Electorally, the deal is considered badly negotiated, as the former driving force of the left has only 70 constituencies, against 100 for EELV or 50 for the PS.

Very quickly the disaffected rise to the tipping point. Some take a radical measure: they leave the party, this is especially the case of Bernard Cazeneuve. The former prime minister explains this in a long Facebook post in which he regrets the agreement with LFI.”where I had to endure the violence, the excess of positions, the insults (…). I also have a clear and firm conception of secularism, of the Republic, which forbids any convergence with those whose thinking on these issues is more than ambiguous.† Obviously, the “official” opposition to Olivier Faure’s line also makes its voice heard through the intervention of Patrick Mennucci from Marseille or the PS mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin, Hélène Geoffroy who rejects an agreement “asking us to apologize, to repent, to deny some part of our history”.

Rebellious Candidates

A story traditionally linked to the southwest of France, the country of Jean Jaurès, Léon Blum, one of the beating hearts of French socialism. However, this part of the country is being sacrificed on the altar of the left’s union. In Occitania, for example, only 6 out of 49 constituencies are reserved for the PS, while Hérault has none. Unacceptable for regional and local officials. Carole Delga, the de facto media president of the Occitanie region, who also opposes the agreement, is acting as “chief resistant”. With energy she denounces her party which “dark with submission, mess”, promises better days, personally supports all socialist candidates outside of Nupes, whom she refuses to call dissidents. On the spot, it is supported by the mayor of Montpellier Michael Delafosse, by Kléber Mesquida, president of the departmental council of Hérault or by Germinal Peiro, his counterpart from the Dordogne.

The PS has almost as many official candidacies as dissident candidacies

But the Southwest’s elected representatives aren’t the only ones submitting candidatures outside of Nupes. In several districts of the Loire or in Brittany, “pure sugar socialists” candidates challenge the national authorities. Among them Vincent Le Meaux, boss of the rose festival in the Côtes d’Armor or Réza Salami in Brest. They can count on the support of Loig Chesnais-Girard, the re-elected regional president on the pink banner.

In the Sarthe, Stéphane Le Foll is in charge of the mayor of Le Mans, close to François Hollande and former Minister of Agriculture. In his department, this opponent of the agreement supports five candidates who are considered deviant by the PS apparatus. Devices in which certain “apparatchiks” openly record facts and cases for the protesters. This is particularly the case of the party’s spokesman, Oise Senator Rachid Temal, who clearly encourages dissidents: “Jean-Luc Mélenchon will have to accept the insubordination. To be a candidate if you want to, that’s insubordination.” The success of these candidates over sixty is difficult to predict for the time being. Just one certainty, they break the small music of a plural and united left. A thorn in the side of the PS who is confronted with two not too happy scenarios.

When Olivier Faure decides to exclude dissidents, he weakens his party. If he closes his eyes, he weakens himself

The Dilemma of Olivier Faure

The first would be to exclude the slingers as allowed by the statutes. Problem: They and their supporters are very rooted in the field and in some departments they represent a large proportion of local elected officials and activists. Olivier Faure can therefore only with difficulty free himself from the living forces that the party is sorely lacking. Not to mention the internal swirls. If nearly 4 in 10 executives are against the deal, most respect the majority fact. But they would probably find the banishment of comrades who, despite their choice, remain attached to socialism very bad. Olivier Faure is in trouble because of this and can only make two bad decisions. For the time being, he tries to save the goat and the cabbage by making promises to the disaffected. He particularly supports the socialist Lamia El Aaraje, deputy of Paris, whose election was declared invalid by the Constitutional Council. Jean-Luc Mélenchon imposed a historic rebel, Danielle Simonnet, in the constituency, which irritates the PS. However, the deputy of Seine-et-Marne has a reason to smile: for now, the slingers seem reluctant to migrate to Macronie.

The cry of Macronie’s foot?

However, the latter has put the small dishes in the big ones to welcome potential defectors. The left wing of the majority, Territoires de Progrès, led by Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt, a former PS deputy, is trying to “poach the disaffected”. Those wishing to cross the Rubicon can also pass through another “decompression chamber” called the Federation of Progressives. The microparty brings together former ministers of François Hollande such as François Rebsamen, Marisol Touraine and Juliette Méadel. However, the government of Borne proves it: the majority no longer manages to welcome defectors from the PS.

Le Foll, Delga, Mennucci, Delafosse claim it: Socialists at heart don’t want to leave the “old house” that they want to convert from roof to attic. But they could also try to rebuild one elsewhere in case of lockout. The final result will certainly take place after the parliamentary elections or during the next political school year. Carole Delga should organize”States General of the Republican, European and Ecological Left, open to activists, sympathizers, to civil society, to all those who want a social project on the left that is neither Emmanuel Macron’s nor Jean-Luc Melenchon’s”.

Lucas Jakubowicz

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