Christiane Taubira, the very popular free spirit of the left

Figure of “the moral left”, Christiane Taubira, who declared herself on Saturday in Lyon as a presidential candidate for 2022, acts as a free electron on the left with a career and a personality that make her very popular, without necessarily being unanimous.

This little woman from 69 years old with a piercing gaze, strapped in her trouser suits, closely braided, has always cultivated the “mystery”, between remarkable speeches and a certain silence.

This time, the one who has been divided for a few years between her native Guyana and her Parisian apartment, returns to the political scene and launches, as in 1993 , in the presidential battle, to try, she says, to bring together a left in “the impasse”.

“If I, who can stand up, I capitulate, everything collapses. (…) If I don’t take my responsibilities, then who will?”, explained to L’ Obs the one who said in 2019 “not to like the routine”.

Considered by some as an “icon” of the left, she is the object of strong hatred on the right and the extreme right, and even sometimes in her own camp.

Known for her strong character, she nevertheless has “a real ability to win sympathy and support”, says ex-rebellious PS Christian Paul, who is campaigning alongside her.

Born in Cayenne on February 2 69 in a modest Guyanese family of eleven children, she graduated in economics, agro -food, in sociology and in Afro-American ethnology.

Sympathizer of independence theses in her youth, she made her debut in politics by winning in 1993 the legislative elections with her Walwari movement (various left), created with her husband Roland Delannon, from whom she will have four children and from whom she divorced. She was also elected MEP from 1993 to 1999, on the list of Bernard Tapie’s Radical Left Party (PRG).

His name remains associated with a law passed in 2001 which recognizes the slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity.

Christiane Taubira in New York on 29 January 2016 (AFP/Archives – Jewel Samad ) The following year, she ran for president, under the colors of the PRG. She won only 2.32% of the vote, but was accused of having contributed to the fall of the socialist candidate Lionel Jospin.

At the PS, some still hold it against him. “She’s a totem personality of the left, but not a pure social democrat,” said an executive, who sees her “still as a factor of division”.

In 2012, the day after François Hollande’s victory, she joined the Ayrault I government as Minister of Justice.

– “Free” –

The French discovered her fighting spirit when she defended the “marriage for all” bill in the face of fierce opposition from the law.

The law is adopted in April 2013. The left gave the minister a standing ovation.

Despite this personal success, this highly literate orator then lost her decisions on penal reform, one of her flagship projects, and the reform of juvenile justice , which she wants less repressive, gets bogged down.

The extreme right directly targets her skin color, she takes it.

Beginning 2016, she tenders her resignation to François Hollande, publicly disapproving of his controversial proposal to forfeit nationality.

“She could wait (…) but she preferred to leave, contributing in part to weaken” François Hollande, criticizes the former PS deputy Bernard Poignant in a forum at Liberation.

“She is a stateswoman, free, with a career republican”, praises Guillaume Lacroix, president of the PRG, for whom “she embodies the moral left”. He considers it “unclassifiable. This is what makes its strength but also the angles on which its adversaries hit permanently”.

For Christian Paul, she is “a very central candidate on the left, a meeting point for the left and ecology”, recalling that she notably fought gold mining in Guyana.

But for a member of the management of EELV, he lacks “a highly developed ecological ideological corpus” to convince left-wing voters.

“On many subjects, I don’t know what she really thinks”, also confides LFI deputy Alexis Corbière.

At the end of September, Her refusal to call for anti-Covid vaccination against Covid in Guyana, had caused an outcry. Since then, she has defended her several times.