PARIS, France: Socialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has said she will run in the 2022 French presidential election, despite polls showing she is unlikely to succeed unless she can unite the country’s divided political left.
Hidalgo, 62, of Spanish origin, became the first woman to become mayor of Paris in 2014 and is one of the few left-wing politicians to emerge relatively unscathed from the political upheaval caused by President Emmanuel Macron’s victory in 2017 .
While Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen currently vote between 20% and 24%, respectively, for the first round of voting in April, Hidalgo is only voting around 8%.
“Knowing the seriousness of our time and to give hope to our lives, I decided to be a candidate for the French presidency,” said Hidalgo, announcing his candidacy in Rouen, Normandy.
She also pledged to reindustrialize traditional manufacturing centers, create a greener economy, improve education and prioritize French citizens under European Union policies.
His efforts as mayor of Paris to transform the banks of the Seine into lively walks, regulate polluting vehicles and create new cycle paths during the COVID-19 pandemic have won him praise from much of the electorate .
While Paris’ successful efforts to host the next Olympic Games have bolstered her profile, she remains relatively unknown outside of the French capital.
After former banker Macron disrupted mainstream politics in previous elections, the French Socialist Party struggled to rebuild itself, with former Agriculture Minister Stéphane Le Foll being Hidalgo’s only rival within the left.
The French political left is also deeply divided. The Greens, who performed well in last year’s municipal elections, will announce a rival contender in the coming weeks.
Analysts have stressed that any serious center-left challenger will need United Greens and Socialists to have any chance of qualifying for the second round of elections. The latest polls show Macron and Le Pen to be the most likely second-round candidates.