He’s already in the next fight. The one against the pension reform. But Olivier Faure has another battle to win first. That for the internal campaign for the leadership of the party. Olivier Faure will be opposed Thursday to the mayor of Rouen, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, for the post of first secretary.
If the orientation text led by the outgoing first secretary isst arrived last Thursday largely in the lead, with 49.15% of the vote, against 30.51% for his challenger from Rouen and 20.34% for Hélène Geoffroy, who called to vote for Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, things are not done. On paper, by adding the scores of these last two motions, we just exceed 50%. But as often, politics is not arithmetic. And the management says it is sure to be in the majority in the party’s bodies, that is to say in the National Council, thinking of having more than 50 federations at the end of the vote for departmental officials, scheduled for February. Still, Thursday’s ballot could be tight, especially if abstainers move.
“We can’t be either for or against. The “ni, nor” led us into a wall”, points out Olivier Faure
As for the debate on the line, for Olivier Faure, it’s all seen. “The strategic debate has been settled. Only 20% of activists wanted to leave the Nupes (the line defended by Hélène Geoffroy, editor’s note) “, he underlined Monday morning, during his wishes to the press, from the headquarters of the Socialist Party, in Ivry- sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne). “It is in Nupes that the PS must assert itself,” insists the deputy for Seine-et-Marne.
Read also » Tense climate at the PS: Olivier Faure in the lead… followed by Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, who imagines himself winning
While the management announced yesterday that it was refusing a new televised debate, as requested by Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, Olivier Faure points to the vagueness that emanates from the new coupling between the mayor of Rouen, favorable to the union of the left but giving more weight in the PS, and Hélène Geoffroy, the most opposed to La France Insoumise. “We don’t really know what he’s saying anymore, and he will try to keep the confusion going until Thursday. But we need clarity,” asks Olivier Faure. Sunday, the spokesman of the PS, Pierre Jouvet, was ironic: “Activists would be interested to know if Nicolas debated with Mayer-Rossignol to decide the line”. The number 1 of the PS gives a layer this Monday. “We can’t be either for or against. The “neither, nor” is not the right way to proceed. It drove us into a wall. At some point, you have to make a choice. […] It is by dint of not choosing, that the French have ended up no longer identifying with the PS”, maintains the Socialist leader, while the Socialist Party was characterized under the Holland era by its art of synthesis.
Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol is “the one who can bring the socialists together” according to François Hollande
In this home stretch, the mayor of Rouen has just seen the arrival of brand support this morning – but will he be strong support in the current PS? – in the person of François Hollande. The former head of the socialist state showed, at the microphone of France Inter, that he had not lost his hand to launch some political projections. “Five years ago, the PS had around 80,000 members. Today it is half, about 40,000. Half came to vote, 20,000. Of the 20,000, about half came to vote for Olivier Faure… Talk about a performance! quipped the former President. Whoever still has his PS card will vote “for Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol”, who seems to him “to be the one who can bring together the Socialists, while being attached to the union of the left”. And to add:
Straightening the left presupposes a central force that has long been the PS, which is not to be confused with LFI. (Francois Hollande)
A position taken by François Hollande in the middle of the socialist congress which can prove to be a double-edged sword, in the eyes of the militants. Olivier Faure knows this and presses it: “Tell me who your supporters are, I’ll tell you who you are”, retorts the outgoing first secretary.
In this socialist squabble, the day last Friday, spent recounting the results of each federation, could perhaps have ended badly. If the representatives of the opponents had entered the “assessment commission” reassembled like cuckoo clocks, even ready to do battle, everyone signed the minutes at the end of the day which attests to the official results. But some of them have been debated.
Disputed points in Seine-Maritime, Occitanie or Reunion
The management, which had announced on Thursday evening the figure of 50.5% on a good part of the ballots counted, finally arrives at 49.15%. It is “the evolution of the evening” according to the lifts, minimizes today the boss of the PS, who notes “that we are well above the 47.5% which were predicted for us by Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol and Hélène Geoffroy. Then there was a point of agreement on the sections that we were taking into account and not taking into account. And we were extremely lenient, we didn’t want to add fuel to the fire. So we let a number of situations pass, ”says Olivier Faure, questioned on the subject by publicenat.fr.
From an internal PS source, it is explained that the contentious points concerned in particular Seine-Maritime or Occitanie, with astonishing participation rates in certain areas of the region led by Carole Delga, who supported the mayor of Rouen. In Ariège, 90% of people with up-to-date contributions came to vote. A “suspicious” participation rate, compared to 56% nationally. On the management side, we also mention the Gard. The palm goes to the federation of the island of Reunion, which has simply not been validated. While the “federation” has 160 “validated” members, there were 783 registered on the day of the vote, “including 500 votes for the orientation text 3”, that of the mayor of Rouen, it is said from side of the PS leadership. A discrepancy which would be linked to the existence of local micro-parties, where members take their card, without taking it to the PS.
If the Socialists have despite everything, collectively, validated the results, it is not only because the ballot is in its great majority regular. It is also because the Socialists can no longer afford to publicly face accusations of fraud, as in the past.
“If Thursday is the signal for the division of the left, then we will have done a great service to Emmanuel Macron”
Olivier Faure intends to be combative for the time being on the battle for pensions, three days before a first strike action. He announces that he is joining the communist motion for a resolution, which calls for the reform to be decided by referendum. And defends “a mix between what Marisol Touraine had achieved”, that is to say the passage to 43 years of contributions, while defending the desire to “reduce the legal age to 60 years”, in accordance with the Nupes agreement. Incidentally, Olivier Faure puts on the table a figure from the latest report by the NGO Oxfam: “A tax of 2% on the fortunes of French billionaires, i.e. 42 people, would be enough to finance the 12 billion euros annually financing the pension deficit.
But this fight, which unites the left, like the next ones, could be undermined if the outgoing leadership is defeated. Olivier Faure warns: “If Thursday, […] it is the signal of the division of the left, then we will have done a great service to Emmanuel Macron. […] Macronie is impatiently waiting for the PS to divide and divide the left”. Still, the balance of power resulting from the ballot clearly express a message sent to management. The first secretary knows it. In case of victory, he will have to take it into account if he wants to keep a united PS.