Europe

French Socialists, far left unite to fight Macron in parliament election

France’s Socialist Party and the far-left France Unbowed agreed in principle Wednesday to form an electoral coalition designed to boost their chances in the parliamentary election this summer — and unseat President Emmanuel Macron’s parliamentary majority.

“There is now an agreement in principle between the France Unbowed and Socialist delegations,” said France Unbowed National Coordinator Adrien Quatennens on France Info TV, while adding that the pact still needed to be agreed on by the Socialist Party’s national council.

In principle, the agreement — which includes the Greens and Communists — means the parties will campaign under a common program and run one joint candidate in the election for the National Assembly on June 9 and 12. The agreement would reportedly allow a Socialist candidate to run unopposed in 70 constituencies.

The electoral pact unifies the once-dominant Socialists with the Communists and Greens in a “Social and Ecological People’s Union” alongside France Unbowed and its firebrand leader, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

If confirmed, this would mark the first formal coalition for the French left since the Socialist-Green pact two decades ago. If the deal goes ahead, the parties will campaign on policies including raising the minimum wage, capping prices on essential products and lowering the retirement age to 60.

But the agreement, which follows deals agreed earlier in the week between France Unbowed, the Communists and the Greens, is likely to raise concerns in Brussels.

Under the terms of their agreement Monday, the Greens and France Unbowed said they were “ready to disobey” EU rules. Green MEPs later slammed the move, arguing ignoring EU law could put the bloc’s future at risk.

“EU law is already suffering from verbal attacks from people like [Hungarian Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán and [leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party] Jarosław Kaczyński … if the French do it too, there is a risk that the whole EU construction will collapse,” said Belgium’s Philippe Lamberts, co-leader of the Greens group in the European Parliament.

Mélenchon, a long-time Euroskeptic, called during his presidential campaign for a renegotiation of the EU treaties and ignoring European law if necessary to achieve his program.

It comes as France Unbowed cemented itself as the dominant electoral force on the left in the first round of the French presidential election in April, coming in third place just one point behind far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, at 22 percent. In contrast, the Socialists won just 1.8 percent of the vote, their lowest ever score, while the other left parties also scored under 5 percent.




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