July 17, 2024

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French elections: Left parties form a “popular front” to fight the National Rally

French elections: Left parties form a “popular front” to fight the National Rally

Image source, Julian De Rosa/AFP

Comment on the photo, Socialists, environmentalists, communists and non-patrimonial France formed a left-wing coalition

  • author, Paul Kirby
  • Role, BBC News

France’s left-wing political parties said they have united to form a “new popular front” to compete with the far-right in snap parliamentary elections at the end of this month.

President Emmanuel Macron called for the vote to be held in two rounds after the anti-immigration National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella achieved a resounding victory in the European elections last Sunday.

The latest opinion poll for the Le Point website showed that the National Front party received 29.5% of the votes in the first round held on June 30, and the Left Alliance received 28.5%, pushing the “Renewal” party led by Macron to third place with 18%.

This prompted each of them to claim that they would form a “bloc” to prevent others from winning power in the National Assembly.

With just over two weeks remaining before French voters head to the polls, the feeling of uncertainty surrounding French politics has been reflected in the Paris Stock Exchange and bond markets.

The CAC40 index suffered its worst week since March 2022, falling by 6.2% since Monday, and by 2.66% on Friday alone. French government bonds also suffered, and the spread between ten-year interest rates on French and German bonds widened, the largest difference since 2017.

France’s fragmented political landscape and two-round system encourage alliances, That is why the Socialists agreed to join forces with the Greens, the Communists, and France Unbendable, the far-left party led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The former presidential candidate has alienated many voters on the left by focusing on criticizing Israel over the war In Gaza, his party lagged behind the Socialists led by Raphael Glucksmann in last Sunday’s elections.

But Mr. Glucksmann He decided it was worth the risk of letting his center-left voters down.

“The only thing that matters to me is that the National Rally party does not win the elections and will not rule the country,” he told France Inter radio, adding that Jean-Luc Mélenchon would not lead a leftist movement.

“We cannot leave France to the Le Pen family,” he said. While Marine Le Pen leads the parliamentary party, she now has the support of her niece, Marion Marechal, who was expelled from a rival far-right party for calling on voters to vote for the National Rally.

Image source, Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Comment on the photo, Opinion polls indicate that Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella are on their way to winning the elections

Sophie Binet, head of the powerful left-wing CGT union, said there would be 200 protests across France this weekend: “It is our responsibility to build the popular wave that will disrupt the far right.”

For the first time, opinion polls indicate that the National Rally Party has a chance to win the vote without obtaining an absolute majority.

Bardella pledged to push through the immigration law that allows the expulsion of “delinquents and Islamists” if he becomes prime minister. He also promised to reduce energy costs.

An opinion poll conducted on Friday evening for the newspaper Le Point-Cluster 17 indicated that the new leftist coalition was not far behind Bardella’s party.

He indicated that the National Front might win between 195 and 245 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, while the New Popular Front would win 190 and 235 seats. Macron’s centrist coalition will be reduced to up to 100 seats.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned of a potential financial crisis if the far right or left wins the elections. “I’m sorry, [National Rally] “They do not have the means to bear these expenses,” he said.

The left, dominated by non-submissive France in the outgoing parliament, proposed canceling the pension reforms approved by Macron’s government, lowering the retirement age to 60 years, a year after raising it from 62 to 64 years, and also plans to raise the retirement age. The minimum wage ranges from just under €1,400 (£1,180) to €1,600 per month.

The Minister of Finance condemned this program, describing it as “complete madness” and said that it would violate the rules of the European Union’s Stability Pact.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal warned that the left’s plans would be very bad news for the French people “who will see their taxes rise again.” Marine Tondillier, the environmentalists’ leader, hit back, accusing him of leading a “Robin Hood government in reverse” with reforms that took money from the poor and left the wealthy alone.

Image source, Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Comment on the photo, Ousted Republican leader Eric Ciotti eventually left Republican Party headquarters

One party that appears to be completely out of the race is the conservative Republican Party, which collapsed this week when its leader, Eric Cioti, called on the party to form an alliance with the National Rally.

Then his colleagues expelled him from the party and for a while he refused to budge from the party headquarters in central Paris.

“All this is turning into a farce,” Mr. Ciotti accurately observed, after the Republicans (LR) held a new meeting to confirm his expulsion.

A court met in Paris on Friday to consider whether LR’s decision to abandon its leader followed party rules. A decision was scheduled to be made during the evening.

Jordan Bardella claimed that 70 FN candidates would run jointly with the Republicans, although these numbers are disputed by the LR.

However, Republicans in the western suburbs of Paris reached a local agreement with Macron’s party to form their own coalition.

Attal said the candidates in Hauts-de-Seine agreed to “repel extremists on the right and left and create a republican arc.”