Saturday, November 27, 2010


Just when it seemed that the Socialists had achieved unity of a sort--an authoritarian, "democratic centralist" sort--it all falls apart, and they are back to bickering like crabs in a basket. The new party line--from Harlem Désir rather than Aubry--is that the now defunct pact among the Big Three was a pact only to give the party's full backing to the winner of the primaries. But I saw Aubry on France2: that isn't what she said, no matter what gloss is placed on it now. Or, if it is what she meant, she expressed herself so clumsily that not only I but most of the press misinterpreted her. Not a good move for a supposedly seasoned party leader who has supposedly been improving her game of late. So the stab at unity has in fact revealed the party's utter disunity and its perhaps fatal flaw: it is no longer a party but a chorus of prima donnas.The primaries should be a hoot.


Anonymous said...

I believe that she tried to co-opt Royal with her public announcement, and it failed.

FrédéricLN said...

Martine Aubry just recalled the basic creed of a leftist party: the party is what counts (rather than the individuals - or the country, imho).

Therefore, competing people should be considered as candidates "with each other", not "against each other". The primary election should be understood as an internal effort of the party to improve its offer and its chances of success at the presidential election.

Which is a quite reasonable attitude, after all.

The danger for the party lies in the decision to allow ordinary people to take part in the primaries (in 2006, only card-carrying members could vote). But it's likely that only committed militants will vote - for most voters in France, we already have a two-turns election and never required a three-turns one.

That implies that some unforeseen opinion landslide among leftist militants (other than card-carrying PS members, who are basically the socialist town councelors) might push an outsider, or non-PS candidate such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon ? In this case, PS leaders would probably internally select one of them to stay ahead of the race.

Anonymous said...

Frédéric, if you're right, then Aubry has a problem: to be that confusing one year and a half before the presidential election, to the point pretty much everybody uderstands something else than what she said, is very bad news.

I think lots of people will vote - in the US, primaries don't just involve committed party members, but simply people who bother voting (granted, we're not great on that.)
Won't you vote, assuming you're in France?
Also, as far as I know, people will only vote for someone from the PS - essentially, they'll choose who will face Sarkozy in the second round (assuming the PS candidate reaches the 2nd round and they don't end up with a Marine Le Pen v.Sarkozy match).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who that guy is, but what he says sounds right:

FrédéricLN said...

@ Anonymous, November 28, 2:24 PM "I think lots of people will vote - in the US, primaries don't just involve committed party members, but simply people who bother voting"

Well, maybe! I'm no forecaster. But it's the first time ever such "people's primaries" (primaires populaires) take place in France, and there has been no social demand for that: it's the outcome of a deal between socialist leaders, including Arnaud Montebourg, who pushs since years for theses primaries.

True, the % of voters in France (+-75% for the first turn of presidential elections) is higher than in the US; but the weight of PS among voters is much lower than the Democrats' or Reps' in the US. The PS counts from 14% to 36% of voters (the 36% mark was in 1981), and 25% at the last presidential election.

Members of PS are basically local councellors and their husbands/wifes (the take their card in order to be on the party's ticket in local elections).

PCF is not better off: blue collars membership had already vanished in the mid-70's (read the "Voyage à l'intérieur du parti communiste").

There are militant parties inside the left (NPA, Lutte ouvrière, Les Verts at some extent, and Attac, which is not a party) but with very low numbers of members (2000 to 12,000).

So, may something new come from the "primaires populaires", I couldn't say. Presently, the Other One's shadow, namely Dominique Strauss-Kahn's, puts anything else in the dark. But would real people really vote for him? Nobody knows.

Anonymous said...

Two more analyses that confirm the "miscalculation"
by two different sides: Le nouvel economiste, and Telos


FrédéricLN said...

About leftists that might support the alleged "centriste" Ms Royal (as well as the "FMIste", 'IMF-man") Mr Strauss-Kahn - because the most important thing is the victory of the Left against the Right…

I did not expect it as soon as that:

The columnist of the leftist sector of PS, "Démocratie et socialisme", writes quite in support of Ms Royal, and against Mr Strauss-Kahn:

"En 2006-2007, les instituts de sondages et les médias (...) avaient ... empêché ... Ségolène Royal d’arriver en tête au 1er tour (ce qui aurait cassé toute la dynamique de Sarkozy)"