French Socialist Party in disarray after joining new left alliance – EURACTIV.com
The French Socialist Party joined the New People’s Ecological and Social Union formed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise ahead of the June legislative elections, but the news was not welcomed by all. EURACTIV France reports.
On May 1, the first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, shakes hands with Mélenchon, indicating that an agreement is fast approaching.
But it was only in the early hours of Wednesday May 4 that the two parties reached a compromise – after La France Insoumise had already reached an agreement with the Greens on May Day and the Communist Party on Tuesday evening.
However, the negotiations were particularly difficult on “the substance and the constituencies”, said Manuel Bompard, MEP for La France Insoumise and campaign director for the radical left movement. “The PS [was] hard to fit in [its] result in the presidential elections”, which turned out to be more than ten times lower than that of Mélenchon, he added.
However, the content of the agreement remains unknown because the Socialist Party has yet to submit the draft alliance to its own national council, which will meet “as soon as possible” on Wednesday.
Socialist Party in crisis
However, the idea of siding with Mélenchon and embracing his program is not something Socialist Party leaders are too fond of, even though party voters are broadly in favor of such an alliance.
In the socialist camp, the mayor of Le Mans and former minister Stéphane le Foll says he fears that “part of the socialist electorate prefers to abstain or vote Macron” in an interview with the newspaper The Parisian.
“This agreement is first and foremost very important for La France Insoumise. Without it, its weak local presence would not allow it to hope for more than 50 elected officials,” said Le Foll, adding that “Mélenchon’s line is a decoy that will not translate at the electoral level”.
A highly influential former Socialist Party member called the “left-wing deal” “shit”, according to a trusted source who told EURACTIV. “A tactical agreement that ignores substance does not serve democracy,” the character added.
Tuesday afternoon, former Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve had threatened to leave the party in the event of an alliance with Mélenchon, saying he would do so out of loyalty “to republican socialism”.
According to him, the movement of Mélenchon “relentlessly fought the Socialist Party” and “that between the two formations neither the values nor the means of action are common”.
Cazeneuve lamented that party members were not consulted before the negotiations and expressed his disappointment that “a few hours [had] enough to forget the most fundamental differences, or rather to keep silent about them”. Cazeneuve criticized Mélenchon’s party for making concessions to dictators and “communitarianism”.
Criticized by the presidential majority
French President Emmanuel Macron’s camp has recently attacked socialists and environmentalists, accusing them of denying their history and struggles.
It is an “extremely sad event for many French people”, in particular for the social democrats, declared Tuesday May 3 François Bayrou, the leader of the Modem close to the president. The Social Democrats “agree to sign the end of everything they have done”, he declared, pointing in particular to the “disobedience” to EU rules advocated by Mélenchon’s party.
The New Socialist and Green People’s Union (NSEPU) will hold a launch event on Saturday May 7 with all the political forces participating in the coalition.
On the same day, Macron’s inauguration ceremony will be held at the Elysée Palace.
[Edited by Alice Taylor]