Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo kick-started her campaign with a first rally as the Socialist Party’s official candidate in Lille on Saturday. With polls showing Hidalgo still in the single digits ahead of French presidential elections in April, even some supporters acknowledge that she "has a lot of work to do".
Socialist Party leaders and supporters gathered in the northern French city of Lille to rally for Hidalgo, who is currently polling at between 5 and 6 percent in her bid for the presidency.
Supporters at Saturday’s event in Lille cited Hidalgo’s international name recognition and expressed enthusiasm for backing a woman for the Élysée Palace. But some also acknowledged that her low polling thus far indicated that Hidalgo still "has a lot of work to do” if she is going to give the Élysée's incumbent a run for his money.
“I hear people say, ‘She’s the mayor of Paris. So what?’ That is something to be proud of," Lille Mayor Martine Aubry told the crowd. "She is the mayor of Paris. Bravo, Anne, for all that you do.”
"I am here for the people of France, so that after so much indifference and condescension, we can give them justice and due consideration," she told the crowd of some 1,700 people, adding that she wanted to over see a "social, ecological and democratic" rebirth in France.
“There is a population of French people who live, who think, and deserve to be considered,” she said.
A young supporter in the audience said he believed Hidalgo’s support would grow as the April vote approached.
“It’s going to gain momentum. I really believe that. That is why I am here today.”
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