Let’s not bury it so quickly!
Researcher in political science at Science Po Grenoble, director of the Opinion Observatory of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation (Photo source: A. Bristielle)
Whoever the winner, Olivier Faure or Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, the votes clearly show that there is a split between two fairly clear lines in the Socialist Party. However, the debate does not relate to the values and the project but to the strategy, namely the question of the alliance with La France insoumise (LFI) within the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes). What is seen among members is also seen among PS sympathizers: 51% believe that LFI is “dangerous for democracy” (1).
The alternative for the PS is either the union of the left, now being a minority, even if it means having its arm twisted to accept the demands of LFI in the drafting of the common program. Or independence, with the risk of repeating the experience of Anne Hidalgo in the presidential election: 1.8% of the votes cast, against 22% for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. For the next deadline, the Europeans of 2024, the PS should anyway go there alone, without the Nupes.
Be that as it may, the PS is finding it extremely difficult to exist in the face of the new tripartition of the political space between an eco-socialist bloc, a liberal-globalising bloc and a national-conservative bloc. He is now caught between a rock and a hard place, between the first two blocks respectively embodied by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Emmanuel Macron. His sympathizers are thus as much to want to live in the society advocated by the first as by the second (30%).
Is the PS therefore lost? Not necessarily. First of all, a real difference has appeared for the former government parties, the PS but also LR, between the national elections, where they are beaten, and the local elections, where they resist.
Nationally, a deputy like Olivier Faure, outgoing first secretary, realizes that the situation is extremely complicated without union of the left. Locally, on the other hand, major elected officials such as Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol (mayor of Rouen), Anne Hidalgo (mayor of Paris) or Carole Delga (president of the regional council of Occitanie) are still in a position of strength in their territories.
Then, the political situation is not crystallized, even if it is difficult to imagine a reversal of the balance of power on the left. On the one hand, there are communicating vessels between the parties, which could potentially benefit the PS in 2027 in the post-Mélenchon context. On the other hand, symmetrically, the post-Macron period can bring back to the center left voters who would be put off if the Macronist legacy passed definitively from the center to the center right with Édouard Philippe or Bruno Le Maire. In short, let’s not bury the PS so quickly!
Collected by Laurent de Boissieu
(1) “French fractures” survey carried out from September 16 to 20, 2022 among a representative sample of 12,044 people.
A historic force is dying
Deputy and treasurer of the Progressive Federation chaired by François Rebsamen (Photo source: B. Bordat)
There is room in France for a left-wing government positioned in the center left. Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol had hoped that a refounded PS would occupy this space. This hope is now extinguished. The Socialist Party was already electorally weakened in the presidential election of 2017, then totally erased in that of 2022. As its congress approaches, the split into two irreconcilable lines and internal fraud show that the PS is definitely in the process of die.
I do not rejoice in seeing a historical force disintegrate and disappear. But I note that the left of government must rebuild itself outside. With Olivier Faure, the PS is indeed sinking into ideological subservience to La France insoumise, and this only to keep deputies. The next electoral deadline is the European elections: who will represent the European and progressive left?
We must rebuild the responsible, secular and universalist left outside the PS. This can only be done by federating personalities from or still members of this party. I am convinced that we have a potential breeding ground among local elected officials, who exist through their territorial project and can more easily emancipate themselves than parliamentarians from partisan structures. We are also awaiting initiatives from figures such as former Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, already at the origin in September 2022 of a manifesto in favor of an “other left”, signed in particular by Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, Hélène Geoffroy and Carole Delga, the president of the regional council of Occitanie.
I believe that this reconstruction is possible by belonging to the left wing of the majority, even if we failed to form a social democratic group at the beginning of the legislature. This is what François Rebsamen, former Minister of Labor under François Hollande and founder of the Progressive Federation, does by indicating that a reform of the pension system is necessary, while making his own music heard.
This is what I also do in the National Assembly, with a slightly different partition because as a member of parliament I have to be loyal and constructive, neither rebellious nor stubby. Concretely, with about twenty parliamentarians from the left wing of the majority, we exchange daily with the Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt. We ask that the project be further amended, via the amending Social Security financing law or by decree, from the restoration of the hardship criteria abolished in 2017 to the opening of the survivor’s pension for PACS partners. Our action is much more useful for social justice, in fidelity to the heritage of the reformist left, than to demand alongside LFI an improbable return to retirement at 60.
Collected by Laurent de Boissieu