There is an air of strange countryside this Sunday, December 12 afternoon over Perpignan. Nearly a thousand activists of the Socialist Party (PS) are expected in the Catalan stronghold to come and listen to Anne Hidalgo, their candidate for the 2022 presidential election. After her inauguration in Lille at the end of September, the mayor of Paris holds symbolically this second big meeting in a city fallen into the hands of the National Assembly during the municipal elections of June 2020. The meeting should allow him to present more precisely his presidential project. But, for four days, a surprise guest has come to upset the program: the citizen primary to which Mr.me Hidalgo proposed to submit, in order to ensure the union of the left during the presidential election.
On the forecourt of the Palais des Congrès, an hour and a half before the start of the rally, the first activists are gathered for an improvised drink of friendship. Olivier Faure, first secretary of the party, answers questions from journalists who are raining about the initiative launched Wednesday, December 8 by Mr.me Hidalgo. The activists, them, tell of the surprise which seized them when they heard the proposal of their candidate for the 20 hours JT of TF1.
If he was somewhat distraught by the announcement, Bernard Marty, 74, now sees it as a ” need “. “In the situation in which the left finds itself, Anne Hidalgo is the only one to at least try to unite”, says this inhabitant of Béziers (Hérault). Incarcerated in the party since the 1980s, however, the party fears that four months before the presidential election, it will be “A little too late to succeed in uniting around a common program”.
But the maintenance of this meeting of Anne Hidalgo reassures Mr. Marty. He sees it as a sign that, if the primary will not see the light of day despite the efforts of the socialist candidate, the latter “Will be fine until the end”, as she promised. This is what she suggests with this Perpignan meeting: it aims to mark a new highlight of her campaign, regardless of what happens next.
“Without union there is no destiny for the left”
The auditorium is filled with gray and white heads, mainly mobilized in the federations of the surrounding departments and transported to Perpignan by bus. The local and national staff is also present to display the unity of the ranks behind the party candidate. In the first row are seated Olivier Faure, Valérie Rabault, president of the group of PS deputies, Patrick Kanner, patron of the PS senators, as well as Michaël Delafosse, mayor of Montpellier for a year, Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie region and Hermeline Malherbe, president of the departmental council of Pyrénées-Orientales.
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