Five years after a triumphant electoral sweep that returned it to power for the first time in a decade, France’s ruling Socialist Party is weak, deeply unpopular and ideologically divided ahead of the first round Sunday of presidential primaries. Some even warn it risks implosion. Voters are seeking other faces and parties after a leftist tenure that saw three major terrorist attacks, record unemployment and the fallout of Europe’s migrant crisis, which left its mark on the streets of Paris and in Calais’ now-dismantled Jungle camp. The far-right National Front party is widely expected to dominate the first round of presidential elections in April, reflecting a wider populist backlash in Europe and the U.S., where President Donald Trump took office Friday. “There’s a distrust, a dearth of support for the left for a number of reasons,” said analyst Jean Petaux of Sciences Po Bordeaux University. “Some believe it betrayed its leftist ideals, others that it didn’t go far enough in enacting reforms.”
So unpopular is President Francois Hollande that he announced last month he would not seek reelection.Those on the ballot for the two-round leftist primaries — the runoff is February 29 — include former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, three former ministers and three members from other leftist parties.
While the vote aims to select a leftist standard-bearer, any French voter can participate for the price of just over $2. The conservatives held their own vote last November, electing former Prime Minister Francois Fillon by a wide margin.
Other popular politicians have opted out of the primaries, including far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon and Emmanuel Macron, Hollande’s ex-protege and economy minister who is surging in the polls.
Full Article: In France Primaries, Dire Predictions for the Left.