Despite poor polls and a campaign that never took off, it was the pugnacious Ann Hidalgo, confident in the values of the Left she embodies, who answered our questions. The mayor of Paris assures her that she is now sowing the “seeds of reconstruction” that must come from the PS.
Two weeks before the first round of the presidential election, what is your state of mind?
My state of mind is the same as it was at the beginning of my campaign. I entered this battle consciously and decisively because I believe that our country needs a republican, secular, social, environmental, open, modern left, in contact with the great challenges of the century: the fight against inequality, the climate challenge and the democratic challenge. To which are added elements of global geopolitics today, which we must integrate into our daily lives.
Despite your “decisiveness”, the polls don’t take off…
I signed up to support this Social Democratic proposal, knowing that it would be difficult to hear it, that it would be subjected to criticism precisely because it contradicted reality. But I do not deny anything: I know that all democratic or social achievements are connected with the left. And if we get a low score, does that mean our ideas are dead? I don’t believe it. I am sowing the seeds of the reconstruction of our party. Reconstruction, which must be done with the youth, with the social movement, with those who want to rule, and, ultimately, with the whole country. This is what we carry with these elections.
“In five years we have not been able to create an alternative force on the left”
Do you understand that PS has not worked enough over the past five years, has not summed up the results of the Dutch five-year plan, has not opened up new faces and, in the end, “has not found its place in the Opposition to Emmanuel Macron?
Let’s start from the beginning: in 2017, François Hollande could not be a candidate. Therefore, he was unable to talk about the five-year term of office, highlight the positive aspects, and also touch on the most important topics of his mandate. At the same time, Emmanuel Macron was able to convince the French to follow him along the line “neither left nor right” – which we see today – “both right and right.” However, over the past five years, we have not been able, however, to create an alternative force on the left, we have not been able to come together.
Whose fault is it?
Let’s be clear: Jean-Luc Mélenchon had a left-wing form of leadership after the 2017 presidential election, and he did not use it to rally around himself. He didn’t want to get involved with the left social democrats, with the ruling left. We also saw how he distanced himself from the values we advocate on issues related to the republic or secularism. Not to mention his complacency towards Vladimir Putin at the international level…
Jean-Luc Mélenchon is still at the forefront of the intentions of your left and is calling for a useful vote. What is your reaction?
Melenchon is not a useful voice. The vote for Mélenchon is a dead end for the left in government. The Left, which he embodies, can only exist in competition and protest. I experienced this at the Paris Council where the elected LFI (Daniel Simonnet, ed.) systematically votes with the right against the social measures we propose. These leftists will never bring together the majority of the French.
Emmanuel Macron’s proposal for South Africa is ‘incredibly cruel’
The inflation that hits the country especially affects the lower classes. How to cope?
I started my campaign last October by raising the question of purchasing power and wanted to answer it first with a pay rise. I want to raise the minimum wage by 15%, and I also want wage negotiations within companies. In our country, the middle class is the one who takes everything to the face without receiving any compensation. Therefore, I wanted to put it at the center of my program. In this situation, I suggest at least temporarily reducing VAT on fuel to 5.5%. I also want electricity bills to be lowered. Very quickly, we must also support our compatriots who are suffering from lack of fuel in their homes. I offer, in particular, as in Italy, a refundable advance for the repair of buildings at the time of the sale of real estate or inheritance. This is an effective way to quickly cut your energy bills.
Should RSA be driven by the minimum activity proposed by Emmanuel Macron?
What Emmanuel Macron proposes shows how little he knows the country. He does not know the position of the French, especially the most fragile and disfigured by life. But he also does not know what the communities are doing, and in particular the departments that oversee South Africa. No offense to Emmanuel Macron, this integration support work already exists in connection with associations and all actors of the social and solidarity economy. Finally, what will Emmanuel Macron’s proposal lead to? The status of an auxiliary worker with pay below the minimum wage. But what is this world? Let me find this incredibly cruel. In any case, this is not what I want for my country.
You are one of the few who do not want to reform the pension system. Why ?
I wouldn’t say so. Indeed, I don’t want to change the retirement age, which remains fixed at 62 – as well as the number of pensions. On the other hand, I want to re-introduce labor intensity criteria that were abolished by Emmanuel Macron as soon as he came to power. The result: Many people will be able to claim their pension rights before they turn 60. Therefore, I want to guarantee this inalienable right to another life after work. However, pushing the retirement age to 65 seems to me a great injustice, especially for those who have a difficult job.