Paris mayor Hidalgo wins Socialists’ presidential nomination

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been nominated as the presidential candidate of France's Socialist party, partial party vote results showed on Thursday, despite her languishing in the race to unseat incumbent Emmanuel Macron.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was nominated by the Socialist Party as its candidate for the 2022 election on October 14th.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was nominated by the Socialist Party as its candidate for the 2022 election on October 14th. Photo: THOMAS COEX / AFP.

The 62-year-old politician, who announced her plans to run for president a month ago, aims to revive the fortunes of the beleaguered Socialists in April’s election with a campaign stressing environmental and social issues.

She won more than 72 percent of votes cast by party members on Thursday night, with more than 90 percent of total ballots counted, the Socialists’ first secretary Olivier Faure said.

She beat a single other candidate, former agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll.

Hidalgo’s campaign performance so far has widely been seen as lacklustre. Polls show only four-seven percent of voters would vote for the daughter of Spanish immigrants if the election were held today.

Hidalgo is one of a handful of women bidding to become France’s first female president in a crowded field of challengers to Macron. The centrist president has yet to confirm he is seeking a second five-year term but is widely expected to do so.

Polls currently show his closest rival being either far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen or ultranationalist TV pundit Eric Zemmour, who is toying with the idea of running for the Elysee Palace.

They also show the left continuing to haemorrhage support, four years after unpopular Socialist president Francois Hollande stepped down after a single term.

Calendar: What happens and when in the 2022 French presidential election campaigns

Many members of the Greens party, which is also on the left, hope that Hidalgo will renounce her presidential bid and back their candidate Yannick Jadot to avoid splitting the left-wing vote.

But Hidalgo, who locked horns with motorists in Paris over her bid to banish cars from parts of the capital, has insisted she will remain in the race “to the end”.

She points to her experience as the capital’s mayor since 2014, leading the response to terror attacks, a huge fire at Notre-Dame cathedral and other major events, to support her claim that she is the left’s best shot at the top job.

Her team has promised that she will ramp up her campaign now that she has been formally nominated.

“Anne Hidalgo is very determined and will prove that she is in the race,” her campaign manager Johanna Rolland said.

Member comments

  1. God help France. One only has to see what she has done to Paris to realise what she has planned for the rest of France.

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‘I’ve lost my eyebrows – but not my political ambition’, says France’s ex PM

France's former prime minister Edouard Philippe, a leading contender to succeed President Emmanuel Macron in 2027 elections, has opened up about a hair loss condition he says will not diminish his political ambition.

'I've lost my eyebrows - but not my political ambition', says France's ex PM

The 52-year-old politician, who spearheaded the government’s fight against the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, was a familiar face on television with his trademark brown beard.

Since leaving the post in the summer of 2020 and working as mayor of the Normandy port of Le Havre, his appearance has drastically changed with his hair and beard thinning and turning white suddenly.

“This is what had happened to me: I lost my eyebrows, and I don’t think they will come back,” he told BFMTV in an interview late Thursday.

“My beard has turned white, it’s falling out a bit and the hair too.

“The moustache is gone, I don’t know if it will come back, but I would be surprised,” he said.

“I have what is called alopecia,” he added, opening up about the auto-immune condition that accelerates hair loss.

He said the condition was “not painful, dangerous, contagious or serious”.

Philippe’s wry and avuncular style proved popular with many French and some speculated that his high approval ratings had caused tensions with Macron, with replaced him as Prime Minister in the summer of 2020.

Philippe now regularly tops polls of France’s most-loved and most-trusted politicians. 

He has now founded a new centrist party called Horizons that is allied with Macron’s ruling faction but also unafraid of showing an independent streak.

Some analysts see Philippe as an obvious potential successor to Macron, who must leave office after serving the maximum two terms in 2027.

And Philippe insisted that his condition would not stand in the way of his political plans.

“That doesn’t stop me from being extremely ambitious for my city,” he said referring to Le Havre.

Tellingly, he added: “It doesn’t stop me from being extremely ambitious for my country.”

With France buffeted by strikes and protests as the government seeks to push through landmark pension reform, Philippe gave his full backing to Macron for the changes.

He said he supported the changes “without ambiguity, without any bad note or any other kind of little complication”.