From Roubaix to Rennes, Christiane Taubira remains on her end

Almost as if nothing had happened. This Sunday, it is 1 p.m. Like every weekend, the midday television news of France 2 receives a candidate for the election for its sequence “Me, president”. This week, the guest is called Christiane Taubira. In duplex from Rennes where she must hold a meeting at the end of the afternoon, the former Keeper of the Seals obviously reacts to the Ukrainian crisis as any pretender to the Elysée would have done in his place. Like all its competitors before it, the Guyanese is asked the two big questions of the format: “What would be your first measure if you were elected?” and “What would be the great emblematic reform of your five-year term?” This will be the revaluation of the minimum wage to 1,400 euros net and the organization of a “salaries conference”, she answers. The former deputy is then invited to quote the public figures that she would see integrating her potential government. Quality personalities, from all over the left, she dodges.

It is true that at this time, Christiane Taubira is no longer really a candidate like the others. Barring a last-minute exploit, she should be forced to give up in a few days. Less than a week before the deadline to collect the 500 sponsorships of elected officials synonymous with sesame to appear in the first round of the presidential election – Friday March 4 at 6 p.m. – Guyanese has only collected 128, according to the latest count from the Constitutional Council dated 24 February. Gathering 372 in such a short time therefore now looks like an (almost) impossible mission. However, now is not the time to give up. “I am combative, my candidacy comes, with the Taubira 2022 collectives and the Popular Primary, from two citizen initiatives. Respect is to fight,” she explains as soon as the question of a potential withdrawal is posed to her. “It may be a fault, but I am incapable of being worried”, she said last week to Release.

“Symbolic territories”

So the former minister continues her campaign. Almost as if nothing had happened. If last Thursday, Taubira decided to cancel her trip to Beaucaire in the Gard at the last moment because of the war in Ukraine, she was well the next day in the North, in Roubaix, as planned. The place was not chosen at random. “There are territories that are more symbolic than others. […] In these trips, I support people who are subjected to images that are projected indiscriminately over an entire city. she says, alluding to the controversial report by Restricted zone on the place of radical Islam in the northern city, broadcast a few weeks earlier.

However, there will be very little question of this during the day. When Taubira arrives in Roubaix, his first stop is at El Cagette, a solidarity grocery store that aims to make fresh, local products accessible to everyone. The passage is express. No sooner had she had time to be introduced to the premises and to talk to Robin, an employee who recognized her from having seen her on television, than her team urged her to go to the second location. of appointment. “I would have liked to stay longer”, blows the candidate on the start before taking two or three selfies. The handful of local activists who accompany her all day, happy to see their champion in the flesh, all display broad smiles.

The small group then heads to Baraka, the restaurant part of an ecological “transition third place” which also includes a co-working space and a shared garden. The boss, with gray hair combed back, has the particularity of familiarizing everyone from the first exchange. And Taubira is no exception. “It’s a pleasure to welcome you Christiane, here you will eat 100% organic and the most local food possible”, he said to him. By installing the candidate at the table he has reserved for her, he says to her: “However, I hope you don’t mind, but there is a certain Marine who has booked as well.” Obviously the person in question is not Marine Le Pen, but the joke has its little effect in the restaurant. Everybody laughs.

A popular candidate among young people

Strangely, the candidate does not cross the street to visit the shared garden of the cooperative. She never utters the slightest sentence suggesting that she is a presidential candidate. The one who is notably accused by many of her opponents – including on the left – of not having a program mentions neither her measure aimed at establishing a food check of 150 euros per month for the most modest families nor her wish to lower 0% VAT on organic products. The passage in the third place ultimately looks more like a classic meal than a campaign trip. With one difference. Again, Christiane Taubira multiplies the selfies. A great classic for the Guyanese, very popular among young people, despite the lowest polls.

It will finally be necessary to wait until the end of the afternoon for Christiane Taubira to finally put forward one of her measures. Faced with a handful of teenagers, she recalls that she intends to set up a monthly income of 800 euros for students. During this meeting, the subject of the presidential election is also put back on the table by a man who regrets the disunity. “Are we going to have to go through the far right to push the left to go beyond egos?” he launches after a short speech. Taubira activists are getting annoyed. The candidate too. “I made every effort possible for the rally, you never heard me say anything bad about the other candidates when they were not embarrassed… It is always to those who do the most that we blame everything,” she squeals. His supporters applaud. Once the exchange has passed a bit tense, the discussion resumes between the young people and “the potential future candidate” said one participant. It’s all in the “potential”.

“We expect a speech of values ​​from her”

Even if she is still in the race for the moment, Christiane Taubira and her teams know very well that the chances of disqualification are strong. “This is particularly the case since the side step of the Radical Left Party”, explains a close friend of the candidate – the PRG distanced itself from the candidate in mid-February. The organization of the campaign has therefore been reviewed in the final stretch. Now, 150 people are mobilized full time to try to harvest the precious sesame. Friday, we boasted, in his team, to have made 15,000 calls in a few days. The candidate has also entirely dedicated her Saturday to the question of sponsorships by attending strategic meetings or by picking up her phone herself to try to convince elected officials. Faced with the emergency, Taubira has not planned any travel and any appearance in the media this week to “dedicate exclusively” collection of signatures by March 4. A good way, too, to no longer have to answer the eternal question: “Will you go all the way?”

Sunday evening, the Rennais therefore did not know it but they undoubtedly attended the last campaign event of the former Keeper of the Seals. A little less than 500 people came to applaud him. In the room, many convinced of course but also a few dozen curious people who came to form their own opinion on this “left icon”. As earlier in the week in Roubaix, the former Keeper of the Seals did not bother to list his concrete proposals on stage. “We have made priority choices because politics is not a catalog of measures”, she says. So, the former member of Guyana dwells on the main principles related to youth, ecology, the question of public services. “It’s desiredslips Charlotte Marchandise, defeated candidate for the popular Primary today in the Taubira campaign team. What is expected of her is a discourse of values, because that is what mobilizes and makes you want politics. What especially give the impression that the long speech delivered that evening consists in convincing the youth to continue to remain mobilized in this election, even without it.

“It was good but I don’t feel like I attended a rally for an election,” breathes a participant on the outing. Which, by her own admission, did not prevent her from singing many times “We will do it”, like the rest of the room. Like nothing ever happened. At the end of the meeting, night fell. Outside, many come out packed. Others more puzzled. “It was a nice speech, so it’s really a shame that she probably can’t go through with it because of an anti-democratic problem,” regrets Léa, recently engaged in the campaign. “It is sure, it is the only one in the political landscape which has organized such events”, adds his friend Jeremy. We looked, she is indeed the only one to conclude her speeches with an air of French song a cappella. After My France by Jean Ferrat, a few weeks ago in Créteil, Christiane Taubira this time sang born somewhere by Maxime LeForestier. Like a kind of swan song.

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