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Foreign_Policy France’s Socialist Game of Trônes

Winter is coming for François Hollande, and a cast of outsiders is vying for the party’s iron throne.

Meet France’s Sebastien Nadot. 43 years old with chiseled good looks and the easy air of an athlete — which, it happens, he is. With degrees in physical education and history, Nadot has been a teacher but has never held an elective office in his life. What better qualification for president? Last week, Nadot announced he would serve as the candidate for the Mouvement des progressistes (MdP) in the next presidential election, set for 2017. Acknowledging he had no experience in politics, Nadot was unfazed.

What’s interesting is that Robert Hué, head of the MdP and a lifelong politician himself, seemed equally unfazed. Before announcing Nadot’s candidacy, Hué had been among the few remaining allies of France’s current president, François Hollande; during the last cabinet reshuffle, his name was even batted about as a potential minister. That he now sees fit not just to endorse another candidate for president, but to declare that the mission of his party is to “tear down the professionalization of political life” in France, speaks volumes on the bedraggled state of the Socialist Party and, more broadly, the French Left.

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