Arlette Laguiller

Arlette Yvonne Laguiller (born 18 March 1940) is a French politician. From 1973 to 2008, she was the spokeswoman and the best known leader and presidential nominee of Lutte Ouvrière (LO), Trotskyist political party.

Arlette Laguiller
Spokespeople of Workers' Struggle
In office
Succeeded byNathalie Arthaud
Member of the European Parliament
In office
Member of the Regional council
of Île-de-France
In office
PresidentJean-Paul Huchon
Personal details
Born (1940-03-18) 18 March 1940 (age 81)
Paris, France
Political partyWorkers' Struggle


Born at Les Lilas, Seine-Saint-Denis, France, Arlette became a clerical worker in a bank. She was a member of the CGT until 1965, when she was expelled for her Trotskyist views. She joined Lutte Ouvrière in 1968. She became the leader of a 1974 bank workers' strike that began with actions of employees at Crédit Lyonnais. She continues to live in a council high-rise in Les Lilas and her only income is her pension from the bank where she worked for 40 years.[1]

She has been a frequent candidate for the French presidency, starting with the election of 1974, and continuing through those of 1981, 1988, 1995, 2002, and 2007. During most of these, Laguiller was the only female candidate. Her best result was in 2002 when she came in fifth place and received 5.72% of the vote. In December 2005, Laguiller announced that she would run for president for the sixth and final time in 2007. After finishing a distant ninth in 2007's first round of voting (487,857 votes, totaling 1.33% of the popular vote), for the first time since 1981 she endorsed the Socialist Party candidate (Ségolène Royal) for the second round. In the past, Laguiller and LO have often refrained from openly supporting the Socialist Party and taken a neutral stance in the second round.[2]

Popular culture

The puppet show Les Guignols de l'info frequently caricatured Laguiller as saying, "Travailleuses, travailleurs ! On vous ment, on vous spolie !" ("Female workers, male workers! You are being lied to, you are being robbed!"). Laguiller indeed did begin most of her speeches with the formula, "Travailleuses, travailleurs!".

In 1995, pop singer Alain Souchon recorded the song Arlette Laguiller, commenting that, "Her words, of course, may be a little worn-out," but praising her "peppermint-fresh" way of expressing them, and indicating that, "When Arlette sings, you feel a real sense of love." He has since lost his soft spot for Laguiller after she refused to back Jacques Chirac against Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2002 presidential election and has stated that he won't sing the song again. Although, in 2008 Laguiller mentioned that Souchon had started singing the song again.[3]


  1. Schofield, Hugh. "Profile: Arlette Laguiller". BBC News. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  2. "French presidential election: Sarkozy and Royal to compete in second round". Asian Tribune. 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2010-09-01.