ROUEN: The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, on Sunday announced plans to run for president in next year’s election, joining a growing list of challengers to centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron.
The 62-year-old daughter of Spanish immigrants who fled Francisco Franco’s dictatorship is the hot favourite to win the nomination of the Socialist party.
But the first female mayor of Paris will need to expand her profile nationally to become France’s first woman president. Minutes after her announcement, one of her rivals, far-right leader Marine Le Pen kickstarted her third presidential campaign in the southern city of Frejus.
Hidalgo chose the dockyards of the Socialist-run city of Rouen for her announcement rather than the gilded backdrop of Paris city hall.
Paris mayor since 2014, she enters the race as a polarising figure whose campaign to squeeze cars out of the capital and make the city greener has divided residents.
In her speech, Hidalgo said her upbringing in the working class areas of Lyon showed how the French school system could help children overcome “class prejudice”.
Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2021