Former Minister Jumps Into Crowded French Presidential Race
Christiane Taubira, who served as justice minister in the last Socialist government, formally announced her intention to run for president in an already crowded race.
“I am a candidate,” Taubira said in a speech in Lyon, weeks after first touting a possible plan to run. “I have been meeting with the French, with you, in your daily lives. We must reinvigorate our democracy.”
President Emmanuel Macron is the front-runner for April’s elections, and until recently, polls suggested he’d most likely face nationalist leader Marine Le Pen or far-right pundit Eric Zemmour in the second round.
Those expectations shifted after the center-right Republican Party nominated Valerie Pecresse, a former budget minister, who now heads the Paris region, as its candidate. Pecresse has edged ahead of Le Pen in some surveys.
Macron is under increasing pressure as France struggles to contain the latest coronavirus wave in spite of high vaccination levels. The omicron variant sent daily cases soaring to record levels.
“I share with you an aspiration for a different way of government,” Taubira said. “We want a government that knows how to listen and to make clear and responsible decisions.”
In her speech, she cited higher wages and youth education subsidies among priorities. Taubira took a swipe at what she described as the current government’s “absence of social dialog” and “discriminations, on top of which are added, sometimes, words of contempt.”
Taubira, who’ll turn 70 in February, also noted the “severe” judgment of people on the centralized nature of power in France, with most decisions emanating from Paris, a reference to the so-called Yellow Vests protests that rocked the first few years of Macron’s presidency.
A member of the government under Francois Hollande, Taubira has been counting on a citizen-led primary to crown her as the left-wing candidate even though other presidential hopefuls from that spectrum have said they won’t take the results into account. Taubira said Saturday she would respect the outcome.
The country’s left wing is divided and already has several candidates, from the socialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo to the green leader Yannick Jadot and the far-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon. Citizens will be able to vote for their preferred candidate from Jan. 27 to Jan. 30, according to the primary’s website.
Left-Wing Primary Candidates
- Christiane Taubira
- Anne Hidalgo
- Jean-Luc Melenchon
- Yannick Jadot
- Charlotte Marchandise
- Anne Agueb-Porterie
- Pierre Larrouturou
The candidates will are facing increasingly disillusioned voters, with a risk of a high abstention rate, according to Le Figaro.
Of citizens eligible to vote currently 70% said they will, according to a Odoxa Backbone Consulting opinion poll conducted for Le Figaro and published in the newspaper’s Saturday edition. That’s 15 percentage points less than five years ago, the report said..
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