His claim to fame is to have beaten Ségolène Royal in 2012. campaign for the legislative elections: “Courage to Olivier Falorni who has not been unworthy, who has been fighting alongside the Rochelais for so many years in a selfless commitment. Since then, the former boss of the PS of Charente-Maritime, expelled from the party in 2012, has returned to discretion. However, he was re-elected in 2017 and then in 2022, hands down (66%) and alone against almost everyone: in June, he faced two competing lists, one from the Macronist party, the other from Nupes… “That set free! laughs Olivier Falorni. Of this freedom, he intends to use. The friend of François Hollande is trying to form a center-left group in the National Assembly by the fall, with other deputies hostile to Nupes, such as the socialists David Habib or Laurent Panifous. Falorni is convinced that social democracy, despite the battering of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, still has a future. He explains it.
Le Point: A few days ago, you were hoping to put together a center-left group. This ambition failed. Does the parliamentary center left no longer have a place in the National Assembly?
Olivier Falorni: We still have the objective of creating a group clearly identified with the center left, made up of deputies elected on a republican and secular line, and of course outside Nupes. We had discussions with colleagues, in addition to elected officials from overseas and Corsica, who also had the ambition to create a group but with a marked right-wing orientation. Our initial objective no longer made sense. But we are still considering the creation of a social democratic group. It seems essential to us, for Parliament as well as for the government, that this sensitivity be represented in the National Assembly. There will indeed be texts that we could support, provided they are listened to and respected.
Who could be a part of it, apart from the six non-attached MPs, including you?
We want to work with social democrats. Representatives of this tendency appear within the Socialist Group. They were certainly elected under the banner of Nupes but are not in phase with the program of Mr. Mélenchon. Some social democrats also participate in the presidential majority, notably within the Territories of Progress party. They are loyal to Emmanuel Macron, but also to their political convictions. I would therefore like to say to the Social Democrats of the PS who want to free themselves from the tutelage of La France insoumise, but also to those who are in the Renaissance group, that we must bring this sensitivity to life with us in the Assembly national. To make a group of leftist legislators, not leftist agitators.
Who are the agitators?
We saw it again yesterday [Wednesday July 6, editor’s note], with this ridiculous fake wedding organized on the Place du Palais-Bourbon by LFI, which featured the alliance between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. We also saw it with the vociferations and the bawling of the elected Nupes on the benches of the Assembly. What a picture does all this give of parliamentarians! I am appalled by these methods. Upon entering the hemicycle, some Rogue neo-deputies said, literally: “We’re going to fuck up!” This way of doing things is deplorable, for two reasons. First, it has the effect of turning a part of the population up against them, who say to themselves: “These politicians are really all clowns. Then, it tends to make the Rassemblement National respectable. The RN deputies take advantage of this, they have chosen the opposite strategy: since the far left chooses the strategy of “bordélisation”, they choose that of notabilisation. They are respectful, they behave well, they do not refuse to shake hands with their colleagues, they are not in the aggressive stand-up. LFI is playing with fire: its parliamentarians, through their sectarian and aggressive behavior, unfortunately roll out the red carpet for Marine Le Pen towards the Élysée.
The Insoumis did not wait: they made themselves heard on the benches of the Assembly from the general policy speech of Elisabeth Borne, this Wednesday…
Yes, and I found it particularly unbearable that Mathilde Panot [the president of the LFI group, editor’s note] speaks of Ms. Borne as a “survivor”. When we know her family history, which she also recalled just before in her general policy speech [the Prime Minister mentioned her father, who had “never really returned” from the death camps, editor’s note], I find this term “survivor” to be absolutely outrageous. When I say that the two extremes must be fought, I unfortunately see that the extreme left yields to the same techniques of verbal provocation as the extreme right. I also note that two LFI candidates for the legislative elections in Paris invited Mr. Corbyn [ex-leader of the British Labor Party, editor’s note], dismissed from his training for complacency with anti-Semitism, in order to pose with him for a photo. It’s all very unhealthy.
Isn’t Jean-Luc Mélenchon profiting from the impoverishment of political personnel? His voice carries because he is talented, but also because few are those whose voice carries so much…
My mentor was the former deputy-mayor of La Rochelle Michel Crépeau; my reference in politics is Georges Clemenceau. Both were masters of public speaking. I have always been impressed by politicians who know how to handle the verb and lead a crowd. But I saw how a tribune like Jean-Luc Mélenchon could make so many promises as unrealistic as demagogic, and that it seduced so many ears! This is why I now expect less great speakers and speakers, but more concrete and pragmatic policies. Elisabeth Borne’s general policy speech, which was in a certain austere and down-to-earth way, will not enter into the great moments of eloquence in parliamentary life. But, given the extremely difficult times we are going through, I will finally say: great! We need action more than words, more action than censorship.
So you are ready to negotiate compromises with the majority on texts, with or without the group you want to form?
The country no longer has a choice. If, in 2027, we don’t want to have to choose between Mr. Mélenchon, who I’m sure will run again, and Mrs. Le Pen, we have to move on. If the country remains blocked for years, the French will say to themselves: “To unblock it, there are only extremes left. We must therefore find compromises, which does not mean compromises, as the sectarians often assert. Finally, we need to practice real parliamentarism, which should mitigate excessive presidentialism. Emmanuel Macron was too Jupiterian, the French wanted to correct things by rebalancing the functioning of our institutions.
Precisely, would the proportional vote be wise, to even more rebalance the powers?
I am against this voting method. It’s a false good idea. It is based on a list ballot where Parisian apparatchiks from all parties land, people cut off from the field. Majority voting has just proven that it can represent all political sensitivities.
Isn’t the extreme left, represented by the Nupes, an artifice? In other words, don’t you think that the PS is only part of it as an electoral tactic, to save the day? Did he have a choice?
You always have the choice between selling your soul and saving your identity. Olivier Faure [first secretary of the PS, Editor’s note] pulled off a nice tactical move to save his own deputy seat, but is it really glorious to save a group of 25 to 30 elected members of the Assembly? It’s hard to be proud of it when you see what the Socialist Party was like ten years ago. I can’t bring myself to see the PS become Mr. Mélenchon’s valet. I do not accept that the socialists become submissive to the Insoumis.
The left electorate wanted union. Can we blame Olivier Faure for meeting this expectation?
Some socialist voters rallied around the idea of left unity. Yes, the union made us win in 1936, in 1981, in 1997. But it was built around the PS, which was the pivot. Today, the pivot is called Mélenchon. It is therefore the extreme version of the left, which also leads a methodical strategy of eradicating the moderate, republican and secular left. Don’t forget that Jean-Luc Mélenchon was a Mitterrandist, he is doing to the PS what François Mitterrand did to the PCF. Olivier Faure is a bit like the Georges Marchais of 2022. He signs agreements believing he will survive. The PS will perhaps survive, but, like the PCF survives today, by saving a few elected officials and a few town halls. A simple survival under electoral assistance. Social democracy deserves better than that.
Was there an alternative to Nupes?
I believe him. The moderate left exists, with personalities like Carole Delga, Valérie Rabault, and even members of the presidential majority such as Olivier Dussopt [Minister of Labour, editor’s note]. The next presidential election will inevitably be played out without Emmanuel Macron. I therefore hope that a candidate embodying social democratic sensibility will be present. We need a candidate from the left of the “REAL”: R for Republican, E for European, E for Ecologist, L for Secular. This left of the real must exist, to thwart the extremist and demagogue left.
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