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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

French Socialists to Hold Presidential Primary

The direct primary election-- or party primary-- had its beginnings with the Democratic Party of Crawford County, Pennsylvania in 1842. In the early 1900s, states began requiring parties to hold primaries to nominate their candidates. Mississippi first used the party primary statewide in 1903; that was the Democratic primary, since that was then the only party that really mattered here.

For many years, the party primary was exclusive to the United States. In the other democracies, candidates were chosen by the party leaders, the party activists, and the parties' officeholders in government. Recently, however, some parties in other countries have begun experimenting with versions of primaries.

The British Conservative Party is trying a vote-by-mail open primary, and there's a movement in the party to expand that method of nomination. I'll be writing more about that later.

The Socialist Party of France will likely hold a primary to choose its nominee for the presidential election of 2012.

"On the eve of a three-day congress in La Rochelle, the party's leader, Martine Aubry, 59, was strong-armed into dropping her opposition to the idea.

"Writing in Le Monde, she said: 'Reinventing democracy means radically changing the political rules within our party... in particular by holding an open primary to choose our candidate.'"

Ah yes... that sexy term, "open primary." I am continually amazed at the various election systems to which that term is applied. Since the Socialists won't invite ALL French voters to participate, it won't be an open primary. If some non-Socialists are eligible, it will be a semi-closed primary.[1]

"'If the Socialists can agree on this, it will change not only the way the party works, but ultimately the whole left, and even our political system.'"

The article fails to mention that the Socialists conducted a primary to choose their nominee for the 2007 presidential election. The polls were open from 4:00 p. m. until 10:00 p. m.

50-plus percent was required to win, and since Segolene Royal got more votes than her two male opponents combined, no runoff was necessary.

Thanks to Ballot Access News for the link.


[1] In a semi-closed primary, some non-members are invited to participate and other non-members are excluded. In practice in the U. S., it is independents who are invited and members of opposing parties who are excluded.


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