In Marseille, the Socialist Party emerges from the crisis, divisions persist

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Johanna Roland, Olivier Faure, Hélène Geoffroy and Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, January 29, 2023, after the Socialist Party congress, in Marseille.

“At home, we can spend days chatting, nights picking up broken dishes. » Sunday, January 29 in the morning, Olivier Faure summed up with humor the ten days of crisis that the Socialist Party (PS) has just gone through. Re-elected in pain, the first secretary, who saw his mandate extended by almost three years, descended triumphantly into the auditorium of the Palais du Pharo, in Marseille, where the 80e PS congress.

Before speaking, the Member of Parliament for Seine-et-Marne took the time to embrace many “comrades”, his clan of course, but also Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, his rival in the race for the post of first secretary of the PS, which disputed for several days the results of the internal ballot. “There were hurtful words, overplayed disagreements, and a last week where many activists felt insulted, disrespected”he said, addressing his competitor yesterday. “But, you and I, we made a choice. That of overcoming these moments” and of “to do together rather than against each other”.

“There is only one leader”

Olivier Faure knows, however, that a new era is opening up for him. Firstly because Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, appointed first deputy secretary, will be keen to be heard. “This is the beginning of a great story, wrote the mayor of Rouen to his supporters this weekend. We are going to organize ourselves, structure ourselves further, continue and expand our work. » Despite the title of delegate, he imagines himself almost on the same level as Olivier Faure in this “collective leadership”, recorded on Saturday as part of a political agreement, in which the Norman elected official finds himself on the same level as the mayor of Nantes, Johanna Rolland, an ally of the first secretary.

“There is a first secretary but the governance has completely changed. We have this pivotal role in the executive” of the party, detailed Mr. Mayer-Rossignol in Marseille, adding that “the balance of power in many instances is reversed or in the process of being reversed”. He sees himself taking a prominent place in the national council, the “parliament” of the party, whose presidency will now be ensured by Hélène Geoffroy, the third candidate for the head of the party, behind which have lined up the faithful of François Hollande.

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Even more explicitly, the mayor of Montpellier, Michäel Delafosse, affirms that the title of first secretary is only a simple “legal formula”. A way for this declared enemy of Mr. Faure to challenge his legitimacy. Among the supporters of the number one party, we worked in Marseille to demine this argument, recalling the statutes. “There is only one chief, it is the first secretary. He slices”, retorts Christophe Clergeau, close to Mr. Faure. The latter did not seek to enter into the controversy, simply promising to be “as collegial as possible”, always at “the search for consensus”. To have peace, his camp hopes that, in practice, Mr. Mayer-Rossignol will be too monopolized by his functions as mayor and president of agglomeration to really get involved in the life of the party.

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