France’s Socialist Party flung open the doors of its Paris headquarters on Saturday, inviting the public to look around, take part in a mock vote and go home with a mountain of promotional paraphernalia, just weeks before its crucial primary vote.
France’s Socialist Party opened its doors to the public on Saturday in an attempt to garner attention ahead of its impending primary poll, which will see non-party members allowed to vote for their preferred presidential nominee for the first time.
The real vote opens on October 9 and will conclude a week later. Anybody on the electoral role who is willing to pledge their allegiance to the political left can choose between the six candidates in the running to face President Nicolas Sarkozy in next year’s presidential election.
Just six months ago it was widely believed that Dominique Strauss-Kahn would win the primary by a landslide and go on to crush Sarkozy in the election. Shamed out of the race by his arrest over rape allegations in New York, no other Socialist candidate has managed to fill his shoes.
While François Hollande (former domestic partner of Ségolène Royal, who is also running) has emerged as the frontrunner, he is criticised for his lacklustre appearance. Saturday’s event was part of a wider drive to shine the spotlight on the Socialists ahead of next month’s primary.
IN PICTURES: French Socialist party opens doors to public
Security checks at the gates to the historic building in central Paris. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
A visitor admires a portrait of François Mitterrand, former Socialist leader and France's longest-serving president. The building became the party headquarters just before he was elected to power in 1981. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
Although the red banner reads "All of France can vote to choose the Socialist nominee" in the upcoming primary, this is not strictly true. Each voter must swear allegiance to the left and pay a euro. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
Sylvaine paid a visit but said she would not vote in the upcoming primary, which she described as “a very American concept that doesn’t suit our culture”. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
A member of staff shows Robert, a visitor from outside Paris, how to follow the party on Facebook. "I came to find out where I need to go to vote in the primary," he says. "Now, I'm a friend of the Socialist Party on Facebook!" Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
Alexandra, a young supporter, places her ballot in the pretend vote. “We came to show our support,” she says. “We're going to need a lot of that in 2012." The presidential election takes place in May of next year. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
The fake ballot box of the day encourages visitors to vote in the real primary, set for October 9-16. Photo: Mehdi Chebil/FRANCE 24.
Date created : 2011-09-17