The atmosphere turned sour ahead of the election for the first secretary

The Socialist Party congress is interesting because it is tense, or is the congress tense because it is interesting? Party activists will appoint their new first secretary on Thursday. Olivier Faure, who is out, faces Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, the mayor of Rouen. On paper, this duel wasn’t enough to stir up the crowd. But behind these two names, the Socialists are invited to make a strategic choice. Olivier Faure maintains his strategy of alliance with Nupes while Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, who is more skeptical, makes no secret of his discomfort with a rebellious France and most importantly now has the backing of the anti-Nupes party.

Because the Socialists voted last Thursday. They must decide between three motions. Olivier Faure, the favorite, however, did not manage to completely stop the match by gaining “only” 49% of the vote. Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol collected 30% for the text (“Refoundations”) and Hélène Geoffroy (“Stand up the socialists”, against the Nupes) 20%. In and of themselves, there are no surprises on this score. However, despite its massive lead, it therefore came out under threat of rallying from the third candidate to challenger in the second round. The opposition was intent on playing its luck thoroughly and the atmosphere was suddenly tense. “You learn fast when you get back to the party what’s behind the polite formula of ‘socialist friendship'”, quipped the first secretary’s close friend.

“They chew like pigs”

Since Thursday, in the greatest tradition of socialist congresses, the two sides have accused each other of vandalism. Monday, during his vows, Olivier Faure spoke of voting under the “right” conditions. But his relatives did not hesitate to detail to journalists what they perceive as voting irregularities in the federation that their opponents “hold”. “They chew like a pig”, explains without tweezers one of them, explaining that a bailiff was even assigned to go and check what was going on in the Seine-Maritime section of the Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol department. “In some departments, we have arguments to cancel the vote. But it was a request from Olivier to calm things down and not clash,” he said, very magnanimously.

According to information from 20 minutesduring a meeting of Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol representatives from each department, David Assouline, his delegate to the commission for reconciliation of results, would call his people to order: “He told us we could not be trusted by saying that there was a crime in Faure if we do something, “explained a participant in this meeting. “I do what is our credit, corrected David Assouline. I ask that we be clean everywhere, at all levels, I do not condone their disputes. »

kiss of death

“They took the national apparatus and 70 federations that organized the voting. It is incredible that they dare to accuse us of what they can only do massively, ”cut in the senator from Paris. David Assouline is thus inviting interested for Guadeloupe’s results, Seine-Saint-Denis, for example, voted overwhelmingly for Faure last Thursday and kept a low profile: “We came from nowhere, we didn’t acquire our current position in the federation. We started with the novice guys. »

Everyone confirmed that things would go better on Thursday, thanks to observers from every camp in the hottest corner. But if it has to be decided by a few votes, as last Thursday’s vote showed? For this, the Faure camp, which is very self-confident, has a very simple answer: those who drop out will be re-elected unambiguously. The optimism based on the approval of 57% of management’s balance sheet came out during Thursday’s vote. Paradoxically, their voting reserves will be found more with the challengers than with the eliminated. They are confident that the support from anti-Nupes and François Hollande will work like the kiss of death. “Tell me who supports you, I’ll tell you who you are,” pinged the first secretary out Monday at party headquarters.


“We haven’t changed anything in our line,” replied Lamia El Aaraje, from Refondations. He assured that Hélène Geoffroy supported them “without a political partner”. To prove it, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol created a splash by announcing his participation in a unity meeting against pension reform Tuesday evening, hosted by… Nupes, and therefore specifically with rebel speakers. For the rest, he judged that at least his candidate united the Socialists, not just the old ones… like LFI deputy Alexis Corbière, who said this week his preference for a win for Olivier Faure.

In early October, a local PS executive, supporting Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, made it clear that in the event of an alliance with Hélène Geoffroy’s squad, he could return to Olivier Faure. Called back Monday, he will confirm his vote for mayor of Rouen, but assumed the election was already in play. He even confessed that he had been approached by the Faure camp since the first round as a capability to integrate his majority in the national assembly, the party parliament. A sign that losses were possible Tuesday, management came out talking a lot about the rally. Michel Liebgott, deputy socialist for twenty years to 2017, is still mayor of a city of 13,000 people and a resident of the Moselle.

He endorsed Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol last Thursday: “The two texts are very close in terms of left unification, in any way more so than Hélène Geoffroy. “Absolutely not a rebel profile (he supported Manuel Valls in the 2017 primaries), the elected representative deems it necessary to “turn the page” of the Dutch years and fears above all the “people’s conflict”. But the Socialist Party is split this winter over the issue This is the first time in fifty years that such a question has been asked. That is why this congress was interesting and so stressful. This is also why the specter of divisions in the party looms over the socialists. This will be the first job of the first elected secretary: to take part, starting next week, in Marseille.

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