A secret dinner fuels rumors of the implosion of the French Socialist Party before the elections | International

It was in Rouen that Anne Hidalgo declared herself “ready” and launched her candidacy for the French presidency last September. And it has been in this Norman city where, seven months later and from the bottom of the polls, he has sought to deny or mitigate this Thursday the rumors of an imminent implosion of his formation, after learning of the celebration of a secret dinner between senior members of the Socialist Party (PS). The objective was, according to the press, to discuss the end of François Mitterrand’s party after the predictable devastating results in Sunday’s presidential elections and to seek new avenues. The immediate result is a great internal discomfort or, as it says Le Mondea “war of roses” unleashed earlier than expected.

The Parisian newspaper, which revealed the meeting held on Wednesday night in the Senate offices in Paris, speaks of a “secret dinner (…) to blow up the Socialist Party” in which “it was not so much about negotiating the final stretch of an abandoned campaign in the best possible way as it was about launching the great maneuvers for the recomposition of the left” after the first round on Sunday, in which Hidalgo did not exceed 2 % of the intention to vote, according to the surveys.

The dinner was attended, in addition to Hidalgo, by former socialist president François Hollande, who according to Le Monde he even planned a campaign to present himself as a candidate if the mayor of Paris threw in the towel, which in the end he has not done; and another PS heavyweight, the mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry. The president of the PS in the Senate and an ally of Hidalgo, Patrick Kanner, also participated; the mayor of Nantes and campaign director for Hidalgo, Johanna Rolland, and the president of the Occitania region, Carole Delga, whose weight in the formation increased after achieving re-election last year as one of the most voted candidates in the regional elections from the country.

The list of participants was as symbolic as that of the absentees: the former Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve who, according to various versions, was unable or unwilling to attend, and the current First Secretary of the PS, Olivier Faure, whom many reproach for not having managed to propel the party since the first major presidential defeat, in 2017, and that, according to The FigaroI wasn’t even aware of the meeting. Hours later, Faure posted on Twitter a photo of what he called, without further comment, his “public dinner” in Brittany with militants “going all the way” with the Socialists.

Hidalgo and his team have tried to reduce the potential explosive load of the dinner this Thursday. It was, declared the candidate from Rouen, to “discuss and position herself to see how to conduct the last hours of the campaign” and prepare, after it, the reconstruction of the left with the legislative elections in June, reports the Agence France Presse. “My role is to unite, take the pulse, listen to advice,” she justified, while she assured that this Friday she will also meet with Faure. “It is about allowing a strong leftist Republican opposition in our country in the National Assembly. It will take us all together, there is no room for individual adventures. My role is to bring [posiciones]”, he insisted.

For his part, Senator Kanner told the Franceinfo radio station that “negotiations with the greens and the communists” are underway, as well as “the radicals.” The legislative ones are “a reconstruction tool” for the PS, which nobody wants to bury, he assured. “Dynamiting the PS does not make any sense, we are not there, there is a congress in October”, he has said to refute the version of Le Monde.

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The anger, both public and private, of other members of the PS upon learning of the secret meeting has shown, however, that the concern among the ranks of the party is more than a rumor and that the dinner has caused more than a friction. The president of the socialist group in the National Assembly, Valérie Rabault, sent a “thank you” on Twitter to Cazeneuve for not having attended the dinner. Others, like the president of the National Council of the PS, Luc Broussy, ironically said that they dined “alone in front of a screen”. Faure’s predecessor, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, spoke of a “pathetic” dinner of “deceit” that only “sinks” the PS further.

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