French politics

Former justice minister Christiane Taubira considering a run for French presidency

Christiane Taubira, a leading figure on the left and former Socialist justice minister, has announced she is considering running for president next year, as opinion polls show the left has little chance of making it to the second round.

Taubira, renowned for her eloquence, delivers a speech at a Socialist Party convention in February 2017.
Taubira, renowned for her eloquence, delivers a speech at a Socialist Party convention in February 2017. AP - Kamil Zihnioglu

Taubira, a popular figure on the left, and who ran for president in 2002, made her much-anticipated announcement on social media on Friday.

“What matters is the fragility of daily life for millions of you, the uncertainties of the future, the fragmentations that are at work in French society," she said in a message posted on her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

"I have always said that I would take my responsibilities; for this reason, I plan to be a candidate in the presidential election of the French Republic."

The outspoken Guyana-born politician and writer said she would not be "just another candidate".

"I will put all put all my strength into the last chances of the union", she said, adding she would give an update on her plans in January.

Divided left

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, the candidate supported by the Socialist Party (PS), launched an appeal earlier this month for a left wing primary.

The call was quickly rejected by her main rivals on the left – environmentalist Yannick Jadot, hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the communist Fabien Roussel.

Yannick Jadot, who was nominated by an internal EELV ballot, once again ruled out “returning to a primary”.

"Be careful not to divert the attention of the French people from our proposals to solve candidacies in deadlock," he said on Friday.

Left-wing activists, meanwhile, have launched a "popular primary", to designate the person "best able to carry ecological, democratic and social values" and to gather people around him/her. Close to 300,000 people have registered for the online ballot, scheduled for 27-30 January 2022.

Popular figure

Christiane Taubira, 69, was candidate for the Radical Left Party (PRG) in the 2002 presidential election, where she obtained just 2.32 percent of votes cast in the first round.

She was named Minister of Justice when Socialist Francois Hollande came to power in 2012, steering the bill on marriage to same-sex couples.

But she resigned from the government in 2016 in protest over controversial anti-terror measures involving proposals to revoke citizenship of convicted terrorists.

She has remained one of France's most popular figures on the left.

According to a recent survey by the Odoxa Institute, she is the "most competent, convincing and close to the French people".

She has, however, been the subject of racist insults. In 2013 the left and anti-racist groups rallied around her after she was compared to a monkey on social media and received threatening and racist letters. 

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