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Robert Hue

Robert Hue, in full Robert Georges Auguste Hue (born October 19 1946, Cormeilles-en-Parisis in Val-d'Oise) is a French politician. He is a former leader of French Communist Party (PCF) and was a candidate in the presidential election of 1995, in which he received 8.7 % of the vote, and that of 2002, which won him only 3.37%. He lost his seat in the National Assembly of the French Parliament in February 2003, but he was elected to the French Senate in 2004.

He is married to Marie-Edith, and he is father of two (Charles, Cécilia).

Early activities

His family professed Communist beliefs, and Hue, as a child, used to sell issues of the Party newspaper, L'Humanité. He studied at the technical college in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, sang in a rock band called Les Rapaces under the alias Willy Barton, and practiced judo (winning an intercollegiate medal and receiving a black belt nidan).

Age sixteen (1962), he entered the youth section of the PCF, and then the Party itself. After studying in Paris and becoming an orderly, he was employed in a psychiatrical institution in Argenteuil.

Close to Georges Marchais, Hue climbed the steps in the Party hierarchy, being also elected mayor of Montigny-lès-Cormeilles in 1977. He was to be reelected for all possible terms, until 2001. In February 1981, he was brought briefly under the spotlight, by starting a campaign against a family of immigrants, whom he had accused of selling drugs (a "charge" that was based mainly on hearsay). This seemed strange to the public opinion in France, as Hue had been (and was to remain) a strict follower of the Party lines.

In 1987, Hue joined the Party's Central Committee and, in 1990, its Politburo. In 1994, while still largely unknown, Hue was appointed successor by Georges Marchais. Hue changed renamed the office of Secretary General "National Secretary" in an effort to refresh the party's image. He did become quite well-known only a few hours later, when he uttered a famous lapsus linguae: I'm nobody's pawn.

Hue and Party reform

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, faced with the rapid erosion of his Party, Robert Hue started a series of political transformations: openness to other political movements, discarding of several doctrines, a double-headed Party executive (with Hue as President and Marie-George Buffet as National Secretary), etc. He made his approach public through his book, Communisme : la mutation.

Robert Hue's low percentage in 1995 is explained by the competition from Workers' Struggle, but it was still more than André Lajoinie's result in 1988. In 1997, he stood by the idea of Gauche Plurielle ("Pluralist Left") which brought the leftist politics back in power with Lionel Jospin; Hue became a deputy, and the government included a number of Communists.

However, the Party was falling out of favor with the public: from over 200,000 members in 1998, it dropped to 138,000 in 2001. The Party lost a good deal of allegiancies during the 2001 municipal elections.

Hue created and assumed in 2001 the title of President of the Party. His successor as National secretary of the party was Marie-George Buffet.

The poor result in 2002 made rightwing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen cheer the death of the Communist force. In fact, the outcome was so bad that the Party did not have anything to show for the money it had invested in its campaign, and verged on financial collapse. Hue resigned the Presidency while the Party appealed to the generosity of its members. The Presidency was suppressed, the National Secretary (Buffet) remaining as the Party's sole leader.

Works

  • Histoire d'un village du Parisis des origines à la Révolution (1981)
  • Du village à la ville (1986)
  • Montigny pendant la Révolution (1989)
  • Communisme : la mutation (1995)
  • Il faut qu'on se parle (1997)
  • Communisme : un nouveau projet (1999)

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