Bernard Cazeneuve tries to revive an “other left”

Bernard Cazeneuve cuts to the quick. “The left is under the domination of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the leadership of the PS has allowed itself to be ‘toutouiser'”, declares the former Socialist Prime Minister, in an interview published on September 4 in the Sunday newspaper (JDD). The day before, on the weekly’s website, he presented a “manifesto for a social-democratic, republican, humanist and ecological left”.

Opposed to the agreement of the New People’s Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) concluded between the Socialist Party (PS) and La France insoumise (LFI) – reason for his departure from the PS in May -, Bernard Cazeneuve believes “that another left is possible, which breaks with excess and sectarianism”. It details: “It would be wrong to be satisfied with the grandiloquent postures of insubordination, by accepting the marriage of inconsistency and violence, in a nihilism where anger would prevent the advent of hope. »

Signed by more than 400 personalities, former socialist tenors or little-known young elected officials, the manifesto is both an alert, in the face of the “dislocation risk” of French society, and a profession of faith in favor of “refoundation” from a moderate left, “steeped in the spirit of nuance” : “The reconstruction of a genuine social-democratic perspective is urgent”, argues Bernard Cazeneuve.

Risk of “marginalization”

However, recreating the conditions of a political space is by no means obvious. The presidential elections of 2017 and 2022 transformed the balance of power. French-style social democracy was ousted from the political game, inaudible during the debates and beaten at the ballot box (the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, won only 1.7% of the vote in the last presidential election). A recent study by the Foundation for Political Innovation (1) shows how much “government parties”including the PS, emerged weakened in the face of “protest push” during these elections and are threatened with “marginalization”.

Bernard Cazeneuve refuses this prospect and declares himself ready to carry the “political battle” of a modernization of the left. The socialists who initial his manifesto are those who regularly call, since Emmanuel Macron’s accession to the Elysée and even more since the eruption of the Nupes, to rethink a credible alternation. Among them: the mayor of Le Mans Stéphane Le Foll, the former first secretary of the PS Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, the mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin Hélène Geoffroy, the former ministers Christian Eckert and Michel Sapin, the president of the region Bretagne Loïg Chesnais-Girard, as well as dissident deputies from Nupes.

The question of Europe

In fact, this left remains for the moment a minority in the face of the alliance strategy of the first secretary of the PS, Olivier Faure. On May 6, the national council of the PS had validated, with 62% of the votes, the agreement reached between the PS, LFI, the PCF and EELV. The electorate of the PS had also approved, in the polls, the decision of the party to form a union for the legislative elections in June. But with the approach of the PS congress in the fall and with the test of future votes in Parliament, new dissensions could appear.

The hypothesis of a single Nupes list in the European elections will also be on the table very quickly. “I cannot conceive, given the extent of the disagreements on the vision we have of Europe (with the Insoumis, Editor’s note)its future, its necessary solidarity, an alliance of this nature (…). Under the obituary column could then appear the death certificate of French socialism. protests in advance Bernard Cazeneuve in the JDD. In this case, the question of Europe could become inflammable and provide the opportunity for supporters of social democracy to return to the debate, if it is not yet at the center of the game.


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