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Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo's intention to run for the presidency has been an open secret. — AFP pic
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo’s intention to run for the presidency has been an open secret. — AFP pic

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PARIS, Sept 8 — Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo will announce a bid to become France’s first woman president today, joining a growing list of challengers to incumbent Emmanuel Macron, several MPs from her Socialist party told AFP.

Hidalgo’s intention to seek France’s highest office has been an open secret for months. 

Yesterday, she told reporters at a Socialist Party gathering in the southern city of Montpellier that “nothing further” was preventing her from launching her campaign. 

Several MPs at the meeting told AFP she would formally announce her candidacy during a visit Sunday to the northern city of Rouen.

Polls currently show 62-year-old Hidalgo, who has crusaded for a greener Paris to mixed reviews by residents, would garner only seven to nine per cent in the first round of voting for president in April—assuming she is picked to represent the Socialists.

If no candidate wins over 50 per cent the two frontrunners go into a runoff. 

Macron has yet to announce he is seeking a second term but is widely expected to do so. The election is expected to come down to another duel between him and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whom the centrist Macron defeated in 2017.

Hidalgo, who grew up in a family of Spanish immigrants who fled Francisco Franco’s rule, faces an uphill battle to unite the fractured left, which has been in disarray since the Socialists were voted out of power in 2017.

Socialist leader Olivier Faure has expressed support for her candidacy but the Greens party and hard-left France Unbowed party have announced plans to field their own candidates.

Hidalgo said yesterday that the environment would be her top priority but that the transition to greener living should not be carried out “to the detriment of the middle and working classes”.

Hidalgo, who won a second term as mayor last year, has been vilified and praised in equal measure for battling to take cars off the streets of Paris and give over more space to cyclists. — AFP

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