As the party met for its annual summer conference in the chic coastal resort of La Rochelle over the weekend, the free-market supporting weekly criticized most of the contenders in the current race to be selected as the candidate in presidential elections in 2012.
Only one candidate, mayor and member of parliament Manuel Valls, was singled out as having a “refreshingly modern view of the left.”
The magazine described current front-runners François Hollande and Martine Aubry as “frozen in time, circa 1981.”
It criticized their intention to return the retirement age to 60 (it has just been increased to 62) and plans to create 300,000 public sector jobs for young people.
Even more ire was aimed at the 2007 presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, and fellow candidate Arnaud Montebourg.
Royal has argued that stock options and speculation on foreign debt represent “anarchic globalization” and should be banned.
Montebourg has written a book arguing for “deglobalization”, a process that would reverse the trend of shifting production to low cost regions in the world. Their views were described as “patent nonsense” by the magazine.
In contrast, Valls is praised as the only candidate who “dares utter such truths”.
Valls himself seemed pleased, although modest, about the endorsement. “The Economist’s analysis of the different personalities and of what I represent were pertinent,” he said.
As the conference wound up on Sunday, an opinion poll showed that François Hollande still has a comfortable lead.
The poll, by Ifop for newspaper Journal du Dimanche, gave Hollande 41 percent, ahead of his closest rival, Martine Aubry, on 31 percent. They were followed by Ségolène Royal (13 percent), Manuel Valls (6 percent) and Arnaud Montebourg (5 percent).