It is around 7 p.m. on Sunday evening when Bénédicte Taurine arrives in the prefecture of Ariège, in Foix. The LFI candidate, supported by Nupes, is obviously keeping a low profile. Defeat is tough. She lost, between June 2022 and this Sunday, the day of the second round of the partial legislative, half of her votes (7,776 against nearly 15,000 in 2022)! More than a setback, it's a disavowal in the form of a debacle. Bénédicte Taurine congratulates the new deputy of Ariège, Martine Froger, suspended from the PS for running despite the ban on the Socialist Party. But defeat is hard to swallow. To her rival, Bénédicte Taurine said her resentment: "I will remember it, you were odious. »
The campaign was tough. The two camps quarreled for weeks, on the markets of the villages of Ariège or even in Foix, on Saturday March 11. That day, Bernard Cazeneuve was taken to task by Nupes activists. The ex-Prime Minister, who came to Ariège to support Martine Froger, was able to hold his public meeting, but his supporters almost threw a punch to repel the pro-Nupes. At the PS, we use these local quarrels to emphasize that Sunday's ballot has no national value, or almost. “We should not look at this result with a national prism, warns Corinne Narassiguin, number 2 of the party. It is difficult to draw any major conclusions from this, because the case of Ariège is very specific. »
The first secretary of the PS therefore does not intend to move an ear because of Ariège. He wants to pursue the marriage with the Nupes, drafted in a hurry last June for the legislative elections. This certainty of being right does not mean that nothing should change: Olivier Faure said a few weeks ago that the way of working within the Nupes had to be reviewed, and that the balance of power had to be changed in "expanding the left plinth", says Corinne Narassiguin. But the boss of the PS will not act under duress.
He also published a virulent press release on Sunday evening, without a word for Martine Froger. Rather than praising the victory of a woman on the left, suspended from the PS for refusing to comply, Olivier Faure underlines that she obtained (obviously without asking for it) the support of Olivier Dussopt, the minister in charge of the reform retirements. "An affront to the millions of French men and women who have been demonstrating for months", criticizes the press release from the PS. It may have escaped Olivier Faure that Martine Froger is also marching against the pension reform.
The reaction of the socialist boss pointed his opponents. "He's gone crazy, it's worse than I imagined, he comes to insult socialist comrades," thunders a close friend of Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol. The mayor of Rouen, main rival of Olivier Faure, published a press release to congratulate himself on the victory of Martine Froger. Others followed him, like Hélène Geoffroy, another opponent of the boss of the PS, Anne Hidalgo or even Michaël Delafosse. The mayor of Montpellier did not go with dead hands, recalling that "Olivier Faure obtained his re-election [au poste de premier secretary, NDLR] by fraud".
In the meantime, Martine Froger is looking for her place. The new deputy for Ariège must send an email to Boris Vallaud, the president of the socialists in the National Assembly, to ask him to sit among this group this evening. She would have already spoken to him about it, without much success: "He replied that it was not easy! “testifies a high-ranking socialist.