France politics: Quick View - Parti socialiste leadership campaign begins

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Economist Intelligence Unit
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Politics, News Analysis, Forecast, Political stability
Political Geography


On January 27th the centre-left Parti socialiste (PS) closed applications for its leadership. Four candidates have declared themselves: Emmanuel Maurel, a member of the European Parliament; Stéphane le Foll, a former minister of agriculture and current deputy in the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament); and Olivier Faure and Luc Carvounas, both deputies in the National Assembly.


On January 27th all candidates had to submit a 50,000-word programme on four topics: Europe; the fight against inequality; ecology; and "republic and democracy". The election for the party's leadership will take place in two rounds. The first round is due on March 15th, and the run-off between the two candidates with the most votes is scheduled for March 29th. Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the current leader of the PS, will step down from his post during an annual congress on April 7th-8th.

Delphine Batho, the former minister for ecology, could not submit her application following a last-minute change of the PS's charter that meant that all candidates had to be backed by at least 16 members of the PS National Council. Ms Batho contested this change but a court declared it fully legal, thereby dismissing the case against the PS that she brought in late January. Following the unexpected withdrawal of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the former minister of education, no women will take part in the competition for the leadership of the PS.

Mr Maurel represents the left wing of the PS; his programme focuses on increasing the welfare system and reflects his ideological closeness to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the far-left La France insoumise (for whom he previously worked). Mr le Foll, who is close to François Hollande, the former president, has a centre-left programme; he hopes to attract traditional members of the PS who would trust his policymaking experience. Mr Carvounas is one of the main opponents to the implementation of the reform package of Emmanuel Macron, the president; his political line also appears broadly centre left. Finally, Mr Faure is the most moderate of all the candidates; his aim is to reconcile the diverging views of the different factions within the PS.

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