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French Left Must Unite Ahead of EU Elections, Says Mélenchon


France’s recently created left-wing alliance NUPES won’t last if a single left-wing list is not presented at the European elections next year, according to far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, although opinions differ widely across the alliance.

Formed in June of last year, NUPES includes Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise (LFI), the Socialist Party (PS), the green party, Europe Ecologie-les Verts (EELV) and the French Communist Party (PCF).

No single list of left-wing forces in the EU elections could lead to the “possible” demise of NUPES, Mélenchon, a presidential candidate in the 2022 presidential elections, added.

While Mélenchon admitted to the differences between the parties regarding their relation to Europe, he acknowledged that the parties in NUPES vote the same “in 90% of the cases”.

“We have the opportunity to be in the lead,” he said, arguing that the left must seize this opportunity and “send an exciting signal to the whole of Europe”.

In fact, according to a poll by the Cluster17 institute, published at the end of May, a united list from the left would come in first place (27%), ahead of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement national (25.5%) and Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance (23%).

Scepticism across NUPES

For now, however, other parties in the NUPES alliance are sceptical about the single list idea, particularly as banding together would mean having fewer MEPs in the hemicycle than if each party presented their own autonomous list.

Indeed, according to the same Cluster17 poll, which mirrors the results of other polls, left-wing parties would gather more votes if they ran separately: the Greens and the radical left (LFI) would get 11% each, the Socialists 9% and the Communists 4%, for a total of 35%.

Even excluding the Communists  – because, in France, the threshold for sending elected representatives to Brussels is 5% – left-wing parties would still reach a higher total if they presented separate lists (31%) than if they allied under a single list (27%). In this case, the forces of the left would have more elected representatives than if they started out together since the ballot is proportional.

Competitors from the RN and Renaissance would be weaker (24% and 19.5%, respectively) than in the scenario with a single list on the left.

These are the arguments put forward by French Green Senator Mélanie Vogel (EELV) when interviewed by EURACTIV at the European Greens Congress last weekend (3-4 June).

“We will get a better result by promoting the specificity of our different projects for Europe”, given that “the Greens and the radical left do not have the same political offer” on Europe, she stressed.

“EELV is federalist and supported the European Constitution in the 2005 referendum”, the green senator recalls, “whereas Jean-Luc Mélenchon – and LFI after him – were built in opposition to this project, which was the reason for his break with the Socialists in 2008”.

Presenting autonomous party lists would also make it possible “to send as few far-right MEPs as possible from France”. As it’s “the second largest country [in the EU], it influences the potential majority in the European Parliament”, argues Vogel.

Abanding a joint list at the EU level does not mean abandoning the alliance at the national level, Vogel insists, pointing out that the 2022 NUPES agreement was a “necessity” given the French parliament’s majority-based voting system.

NUPES is “a common platform”, helpful in obtaining more seats in the French parliament, but also “with a view to the 2027 presidential election”, she said.

“We need to find a common candidate who can go through to the second round [of the presidential election] and also win against Marine Le Pen”, she added.

“After the elections, when we are together in the European Parliament, we will be able to cooperate”, Vogel added, as it appears increasingly likely that right-wing parties are planning to join forces to prevent a left-wing majority at the EU level.

Source: Euractiv

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