Over 2 million Socialist Primary voters turned out. They clearly gave it to Hamon by 59% to 41%. That 2 million may be slightly exaggerated: a Buzzfeed journalist voted 4 times. A cheap story for €4. At least this week, unlike last week’s shambolic 1st Round near-silence, the Socialist Party has today been able to publish a reasonably convincing report of votes actually cast in each area.
Not much of the nation followed the evening’s excitement live. They missed Hamon saying that ‘The Left has raised its head tonight.’ Neither of the 2 main TV channels did an Election Night special. News channels showed us politicos in heavy rain analysing this now-diminished Party. A highlight of the evening was Hamon’s victory address at his campaign HQ cutting off Valls’s concession (valedictory?) speech. Cock-up not conspiracy allegedly – apparatchiks had no idea Valls was still live on TV. Maybe they couldn’t hear him over the Hamon supporters whistling Valls speech?
The evening ended all strained smiles with the briefest (timed at 20 secs) Hamon/Valls handshake for the cameras at Socialist Party HQ. Not a word was spoke, not a drum was heard, not a funeral note. Back at Hamon’s celebrations, they were probably still playing his campaign song ‘Can’t Hold Us’ with its line “So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us”.
Will former Premier Valls’s predictions of the Socialist Party’s Death Foretold now be realised? Several ultra-hesitant prominent Vallsistes rushed tellywards to say they were weighing their options: ie “Goodbye Hamon” and seeking sanctuary with ever-rising centrista-Blairista Macron. At the time of posting, 4 Socialist MPs have since last night announced they are now Macronista.
Valls wished Hamon ‘Good luck’. Valls probably also wants his supporters to remain in the Socialist ‘family’ and not join the Macron break-through so as to have a chance to pick up the Socialist Party pieces post-Election.
This afternoon, ‘hard left’ Socialist Presidential Candidate Hamon met ‘soggy left’ Socialist Prime Minister Cazeneuve to discuss their radically different agendas for the coming 3 months. There’s a Presidential visit pencilled in for later this week. Possibly that’s the closest Hamon will get to the Elysée.
President Hollande got in on the act too by tweeting his personal congratulations at 21h39 (just after Hamon’s victory) … to the French World Handball Champions. Last week, incidentally, rumours ran that Hollande might endorse his former protégé Macron. Panic ensued in the Macron ranks.
Before wholly dismissing Hamon, a moment’s reflection on what he wants to achieve. Last night’s stated ambitions were
- uniting the well and truly split apart Socialist Party and, further,
- bringing into one big tent (presumably his) the Serious non-Socialist Ecologists and the seriously hard left anti-EU euro-MP Jean-Luc Melenchon (leader of La France Insoumise (ie rebellious/unruly/undefeated/unsubdued) – previously aka Front de Gauche [yes it can quickly seem a bit Judaean People’s Front v People’s Front of Judea] who the Communist Party supports (still 7 Communist MPs here).
A Melenchon spokesperson instantly dismissed Hamon’s call for unity last night saying that his policies – including establishing a 6th Republic – had mostly been snitched from Melenchon. She also dismissed yesterday’s opinion poll showing a possibly dead cat bounce for Hamon to a somewhat creditable 4th place with 15%, so changing places with Melenchon at 10%. Should the Socialists finally end up 5th that surely sounds their demise.
Why so many regrettable references to opinion polls? The shifting positions need highlighting, since the Round 1 Presidential voter either has to vote in favour of their
- preferred candidate, who possibly gets knocked out, and then the unhappy voter might find two ‘evils’ facing them in Round 2, where the ‘lesser’ may not be obvious, or
- second or third preferred candidate, so that candidate gets to be in the top 2 of the Round 1 candidates, and thus goes through to the Final: Round 2.