France’s socialist stalwarts had met in private on Thursday to explore launching a new left-wing outfit, according to the newspaper Le Monde, prior to their nominee Anne Hidalgo’s probable defeat in Sunday’s presidential election. Hidalgo’s impending loss, according to experts, might lead to the demise of the economically challenged Socialist Party (PS) in a nation where conservative organizations focused on safety and immigration have been making headway. According to Le Monde, Francois Hollande, the former president who dropped his bid for re-election in 2016, however, still desires to determine his party’s direction, joined Hidalgo’s secret meeting on Wednesday.

They were accompanied by four socialist luminaries, although not by party leader Olivier Faure, who is said to be at odds with Hidalgo. Jean-Luc Melenchon, the outspoken far-left contender who quit the Socialist party in 2008 and is currently dominating surveys amongst leftists trying to topple Emmanuel Macron, had also been missing. The fractured French left, which has six contenders amongst 12 on the vote on Sunday, is fundamentally split and has not been able to muster even a pretense of solidarity opposing Macron. Hidalgo, whose presidential ratings would make her the least favorable French Socialist, with only two percent in elections, organized the meeting to contemplate a new left coalition that would comprise the Greens, Communists, as well as other left groups, according to Le Monde.

This “Yalta” conference on post-election rebuilding was largely seen by the press as an unofficial concession by Hidalgo, who vowed on Thursday to vote against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen if she reaches the second round against Macron, as considered likely. Faure replied by posting a photo of himself with Socialist Party activists in Morlaix, western France, with the description: “A public supper with those battling on to the finish.” Macron continues to dominate surveys with roughly 26% of the vote in round one, setting up once again a confrontation with Le Pen from 2017.

However, Le Pen has experienced a late rise in surveys, with some predicting that she may reach 22%, implying that the final round on April 24 would be a close battle. Hidalgo would not be paid by the state for her election expenses if she receives below 5% in round one, a major setback for the Socialist Party, which had to obtain financing by liquidating its iconic Paris offices in 2018 and relocating to the outskirts.

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