Paris Mayor Hidalgo clinches Socialist Party ticket to run for president

OCT 15, 2021 LISTEN

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has been named the presidential candidate of France's Socialist Party following a vote - coming from behind to clinch the party's ticket.

The 62-year-old, who announced her plans to run for president a month ago, has put environmental and social issues at the top of her agenda.

She won more than 72 percent of votes cast by Socialist Party members on Thursday night, with more than 90 percent of total ballots counted, the first secretary Olivier Faure said.

She beat former agriculture minister Stephane Le Foll to win the candidacy.

However, Hidalgo's campaign performance has not drummed up the support the beleaguered Socialist Party had hoped for. It's had trouble overcoming deep divisions since former president Francois Hollande stepped down after a single term.

Polls show only 4 to 7 percent of voters would vote for her if the election were held today.

Hidalgo, the daughter of Spanish immigrants, is one of a handful of women bidding to become France's first female president in a crowded field of challengers to Emmanuel Macron.

Macron has yet to confirm he is seeking a second five-year term, but is widely expected to do so.

Polls show his closest rival being either far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, or ultranationalist TV pundit Eric Zemmour, who is toying with the idea of running for the Elysée Palace.

Many members of the Greens party, which is also on the left, hope that Hidalgo will renounce her presidential bid and back their candidate, Yannick Jadot, to avoid splitting the left-wing vote.

"We can't keep asking the poorer and middle classes to pay a high price for an ecological transition to greener policies," she told French daily Libération.

Hidalgo has proposed to lower taxes on fuel and give back spending power for those in precarious situations.

Often facing resistance to her radical changes to Paris city roadways, she says she will remain in the race "to the end".

Hidalgo points to her experience as the capital's mayor since 2014, leading the response to terror attacks, a huge fire at Notre-Dame cathedral and other major events.

"Anne Hidalgo is very determined and will prove that she is in the race," her campaign manager Johanna Rolland said.

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