The French Euro MP Harlem Désir appears certain next month to become the first black man to lead a major European political party.
After weeks of wrangling, Mr Désir, 52, was today named as the official choice of the hierarchy of the French Socialist party to replace Martine Aubry as its “first secretary” or national leader. The ruling party’s annual conference, set to take place between 26 and 28 October, is expected to endorse the choice overwhelmingly, giving Mr Désir a position once held by the late President François Mitterrand, the former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and the current President, François Hollande.
Mr Désir is seen as a safe pair of hands and competent administrator rather than a man likely to emerge as Mr Hollande’s successor as a “French Obama” or the Next Big thing on the Left. His choice is, nonetheless, a significant event in a country in which racial minorities have only recently started to play leading political roles.
Born “Jean-Philippe” in Paris in 1959, with a West Indian father and a Jewish mother, Mr Désir emerged in the 1980s as a Trotskyist, student and anti-racist activist (he was the founder of S.O.S Racism). He changed his first name to “Harlem” in homage to African-American political leaders. Read the full story at www.independent.co.uk
Check out photos of his activist history at www.20minutes.fr
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