French left has to move on from 1946 or it’s finished | Simon Heffer

The conversation on the left about whether President Hollande should stand in the Parti Socialiste primary, or, whether he does or not, which other prominent leftist should carry the banner for socialism in the presidential election next year, creates a surreal impression. 

A recent poll gave M. Hollande a 4% ap­proval rating, suggesting the average mass murderer would have a better chance of winning. His administration is on the verge of fragmentation, as his prime minister and right-hand man, Manuel Valls, contemplates running. Members of the government who do declare themselves invite accusations of treachery and disloyalty, as Emmanuel Macron, the former finance minister, can testify.

M. Macron’s decision to stand will affect the left-wing vote, even though he has made a point of declaring that he is not himself a socialist. Whenever a socialist president has been elected during the Fifth Republic – Mitterrand in 1981 and 1988, and M. Hollande in 2012 – it has been with the help of voters who would never normally consider themselves leftists, but who lack a centrist candidate in whom they can have confidence. It would ...

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