The French Socialist Party signs an alliance with the far left for the June elections | France
The French Socialist Party and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s far-left La France Insoumise (LFI) party have reached an agreement in principle to form an alliance in view of the June legislative elections.
The coalition pact, which the Greens and Communists agreed to earlier this week, is an attempt to strip Emmanuel Macron of a majority in parliament and stall his pro-business agenda after he is re-elected president in April.
“We can and will beat Emmanuel Macron and we can do it with a majority to govern for a radical program,” LFI MP Adrien Quatennens told Franceinfo radio.
If the agreement between LFI and the Socialists is confirmed, the French left will be united for the first time in 20 years.
The deal was struck under the leadership of Mélenchon, who broke with the Socialist Party in 2008 over his pro-European Union stance, seeking to “disobey” bloc rules on budget and competition issues and challenge because of its free market principles.
A Socialist Party (PS) source said there was agreement on who would run in which constituency and on the overall strategy, but that negotiators had yet to finalize the details of the joint program itself.
In particular, the wording of what the platform of the new alliance, which will run under the banner of the “People’s Social and Ecological Union”, would say about Europe was still up for debate, sources said.
The agreement will then have to be approved by the national committee of the PS.
The policies of the new alliance include lowering the retirement age to 60, raising the minimum wage and capping the prices of essential goods.
If confirmed, Mélenchon’s success in striking a deal with the Socialists would mark a turning point for a party that has given the country two presidents since World War II and has been a driving force behind European integration.
PS veterans, including former party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, have already called on fellow MPs to block the deal, saying it could mark the end of a pro-EU force on the left.
But the Socialists had little room for maneuver in the talks after a failure in the presidential election after their candidate, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, collected a meager 1.75%. Mélenchon placed third.
In a sign of the Socialist Party’s collapse, a source familiar with the talks said the deal – in which only one candidate from each party that joins the alliance runs in one of France’s 577 constituencies – provides that the PS would only have 70 candidates in mainland France. France, and possibly a few others in overseas territories.
A recent Harris Interactive poll showed a united left and an alliance between Macron’s party and the Conservatives neck and neck, each garnering 33% of the legislative vote. However, in France’s two-round electoral system, projections show this could still result in a majority of seats for Macron.