The Parti Socialiste Chooses Désir as President

From left to right: Olivier Faure, Guillaume Bachelay, Jean Marc Ayrault, Martine Aubry, Harlem Désir.
Photo: AFP/Jacques Demarthon

This morning September 12, after a series of negotiations during its Congress in Toulouse, the Parti Socialiste (PS) has chosen Harlem Désir to succeed Martine Aubry as head of the PS.

Former number 2 of the party, Désir was one of the favorites for this position, along with Jean Christophe Cambadélis. With support from powerful ministers, such as Interior Minister Manuel Valls and Economy Minister Pierre Moscovici, Harlem Désir also maintained the cohesion of the party during the primaries for the presidential elections.

In an interview for L’Express, Malek Boutih, former President of the anti-racism organization founded by Désir in 1984 (SOS Racisme) and the current PS Deputy of Essonne, considers that Désir will bring a new force to the PS, paving the way to a new era for the party. Boutih also claims that because Désir is not a pure product of the political system, he is more connected to society and its problems and therefore is in a position to shed new light on certain issues during debates.

By appointing Guillaume Bachelay to Désir’s former position as Deputy of Seine Maritime, Martine Aubry and Jean Marc Ayrault have tried to find a compromise to make up for the crisis the PS has had to overcome over the past few days. In doing so, they managed to find a way to balance the various political orientations within the party.

The efforts Aubry made during her presidency to reform the party will probably be carried on by her successor, who embodies, according to Ayrault and Aubry, a ‘will for bringing people together and renewing’. Points of dissention are already emerging, however, because the make-up of the PS National Council seems unlikely to change dramatically while the key positions are still held by Aubry and Ayrault supporters.

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