• The “Popular Primary”, an initiative aimed at bringing together the left for the presidential election, was launched in March 2021.

  • It has experienced a boost with the rallying of Anne Hidalgo and the possible candidacy of Christiane Taubira, without the other heavyweights not being starters for the time being.

  • Appointment is fixed at the end of January for the vote, which wants to be innovative in its form.

You might not have heard of it yet, but that just might change.

The “Popular Primary”, an initiative aimed at bringing together the left for the presidential election, has clearly changed in size in recent weeks.

After the rallying of Anne Hidalgo on December 9, and the declaration of Christiane Taubira, who "is considering" a candidacy, on December 17, the pressure is now strong on Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Yannick Jadot, who still refuse the process.

What was shaping up to be a side event of the campaign could well weigh in on the strength of - for now - 300,000 people registered to vote at the end of January.

But what exactly is Popular Primary? 

20 Minutes


Who is behind this project?

"Young activists and entrepreneurs in the social and solidarity economy," announces Mathilde Imer, one of the spokespersons for the Popular Primary. People who see that they will never have the levers of power in time, when it is now that it is played. There are indeed many activists from the mobilization of young people for the climate, but also others from feminist movements. There are also "yellow vests", anarchists, abstainers ... Some are quite simply activists in the PS, EELV or rebellious France. “It's not easy to reconcile all these varied profiles every day, but we are moving forward together,” says Mathilde Imer. And if young people are at the base of the movement,today we would find in the organization as many more than 30 years as less than 30 years.

The Popular Primary pays around thirty full-time equivalents and claims around 5,000 volunteers in 80 local groups across France.

Recently, Jean-Luc Mélenchon criticized some of the organizers for having been, at least for a time, macronists.

A criticism swept away by Mathilde Imer: “Since we have existed, we have been accused of being close to the Socialists, close to the ecologists, close to the rebellious.

Now, we are told to be close to the macronists ... We have long been ignored, laughed at, but today, we are attacked because we are making things happen.


How long has it been around?

Another reproach, notably heard in the mouth of Yannick Jadot, the EELV candidate: the presumably improvised nature of the initiative, which would come out of the hat four months before the presidential election. “We have been in existence since March 2021! », Protests Mathilde Imer. The vote, which is due to take place at the end of January, will only be the third step in the process started nine months ago. The first step, before the summer, was the definition of a programmatic “common base”. "We worked for five weeks with all political actors, including people from the PS, EELV and LFI," recalls the spokesperson.

The second step, at the start of the school year: the choice of candidates, via a system of citizen sponsorship.

In the end, ten candidates were shortlisted: Anne Hidalgo, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Christiane Taubira, Yannick Jadot, but also Pierre Larrouturou, MEP close to the PS, Charlotte Marchandise, former municipal councilor of Rennes, Anna Agueb-Porterie, environmental activist , Gaël Giraud, economist, Clémentine Autain and François Ruffin, both LFI deputies.

The last three cities not wishing to be presidential candidates, it will not be possible to vote for them at the end of January, during the third stage.

How will the vote take place?

The ballot must take place from January 27 to 30, 2022. To vote, you must register on the popular Primary's electronic platform before January 23. To prove the credibility of the process, Mathilde Imer emphasizes that the service provider is the one who organized the ecological primary and the LR congress.

Anyone can register for free (even if a bank imprint is requested), but there are three conditions: to be at least 16 years old, to be of French nationality, and to “recognize oneself in the spirit of the common base”, specifies Mathilde Imer.

For now, 300,000 people will be able to vote, knowing that there is still more than a month to register and that the notoriety of the initiative is, let's say, nascent.

For the record, about 120,000 people were registered for the environmentalist primary, and about 140,000 for the LR congress.

What will be the voting method?

This is one of the innovations of the Popular Primary: we will not vote by first past the post in two rounds, as in the presidential election, but through a majority judgment vote in one round. What is it ? “Instead of having to choose between all the candidates, you put a mention to each and every one of them,” explains Mathilde Imer. Concretely, on the virtual ballot paper, it will be necessary to judge each candidacy with one of these five words: "excellent", "good", "fair", "insufficient", "to reject". The candidate with the best median mention wins. The advantage, according to the spokesperson, is that we “avoid the useful voting system, voting for the least, voting against… And the results are less humiliating than in other voting methods.It will be easier to build a team around the winner. "

A daring choice in a country very accustomed to the “simplicity” of majority voting. And a choice, moreover, contested, in particular to the Socialist Party, where it seems to be pleading for a return to the “traditional” voting system. “There are discussions,” recognizes Mathilde Imer. “It would be a mistake on the part of the PS. Because a two-round vote takes time, and Anne Hidalgo herself is used to this mode: she used it for her participatory budget. "

Another risk: having results that are difficult to read for those who are not specialists.

And therefore subject to dispute?

Mathilde Imer thinks that citizens should not be taken for idiots: “It's new, we can understand that it confuses… But we are proposing a process that brings back to politics people who have strayed from it.

We cannot deplore the increase in abstention with each election without doing anything.



Christiane Taubira supports the Popular Primary, "last chance of union" for the left


The last stand of the “Popular Primary” for the union of the left

  • Left

  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon

  • Christiane Taubira

  • Anne Hidalgo

  • Yannick Jadot

  • Primary

  • Presidential election 2022

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