Demonstrators carry a banner reading ‘Workers and oppressed peoples of all countries, unite!’ during a May Day demonstration in Paris, France, Sunday, May 1, 2022. Citizens and trade unions in France took to the streets to protest against the newly reelected President Emmanuel Macron. Left parties will unite for the upcoming legislative elections. | Lewis Joly / AP
France’s Socialist Party reached an agreement in principle Wednesday with Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) to form an alliance for the legislative elections.
The Communist Party struck a deal with Mélanchon Tuesday night, and the Greens did so earlier this week, meaning the French left could display its greatest unity in decades as it seeks to win a majority in the National Assembly and make Mélanchon, who came a narrow third in the recent presidential election, prime minister.
La France Insoumise MP Adrien Quatennens declared: “We can and will beat [President] Emmanuel Macron and we can do it with a majority to govern for a radical program.”
The electoral alliance, to be known as the Social and Ecological People’s Union, will see the partners agree not to stand against each other, with one left candidate chosen for each of France’s 577 constituencies.
The Greens will reportedly stand in 100 of these, the Socialists in 60, and the Communists in 50, though the Communists received 200,000 more votes than the Socialists in the presidential election.
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An outline legislative program includes the declaration of a Sixth Republic, a minimum wage of €1,400 ($1,476) a month, restoring the wealth tax removed by Macron’s government, raising corporation tax, and committing to “disobedience to the rules of the European Union” whenever these conflict with its redistributive program. Price controls on essential goods and lowering the retirement age are other agreed policies.
On some areas of disagreement—the Greens and La France Insoumise oppose nuclear power for example, while the Communists support it—they would be permitted to vote different ways.
“Together, let us make history by winning these elections,” Communist leader Fabien Roussel declared.
But top figures in the once powerful Socialist Party, whose electoral humiliation with just 1.75% of the presidential vote last month shocked a party that held the presidency as recently as 2017, including former leader Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, called on its national committee not to ratify the alliance, saying it posed a threat to the EU.
Right-wing French pundits like defense and foreign affairs specialist Samy Cohen are warning the electorate to give Macron’s supporters a majority or risk “confusion” in French foreign policy.
Ben Chacko is Editor of Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain.
People’s World, May 5, 2022, https://www.peoplesworld.org/