French left-wing icon Taubira joins crowded presidential race

LYON, France (AP) — A progressive icon from the South American territory of French Guiana joined the race for France’s April presidential election on Saturday, vowing to push back against the “hate speech” that has marred the campaign and seeking to unite France’s long-fractured left wing.

Christine Taubira has only marginal support in the polls but is admired by many for her work for social justice and for championing a French law that recognizes the slave trade as a crime against humanity. She last ran for president in 2002, the first black woman to do so in France, and won just 2.3% of the vote.

“I want to play my role against (…) hate speech and face new challenges together,” she said, declaring her candidacy to supporters of the city of Lyon. “I hear the anger at the discrimination.”

Taubira, a former justice minister and former member of the European Parliament, promises 800 euros ($913) a month to all young people for five years, a minimum wage hike and zero tax on organic products, among other measures.

The French presidential campaign ahead of the April 10 vote was largely dominated by two far-right figures: populist pundit Eric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen, a finalist in the last vote in 2017, who propelled immigration and security at the top of the rankings. agenda.

Zemmour faces a verdict on Monday in a trial where he is charged with inciting racial hatred for calling underage migrants thieves, murderers and rapists.

French President Emmanuel Macron, a centrist, is widely expected to stand in the election and polls suggest he is currently the frontrunner, although many voters remain undecided.

Taubira wants the once powerful French left to join forces. But with several left-leaning presidential candidates already in the running, his candidacy could still blow him away.

Other presidential candidates include far-left brandon Jean-Luc Melenchon, socialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Greens candidate Yannick Jadot and conservative Republican candidate Valérie Pécresse.

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