France: leftist alliance ahead of parliamentary elections

The far left La France Insoumise (LFI) has agreed to form an alliance with the Socialists (PS), the Communist Party (PCF) and the Greens (EELV) ahead of the French parliamentary elections in June. To prevent President Macron's newly renamed Renaissance party from winning a majority, the parties have divided the constituencies among themselves. Could this strategy work for the left?

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Macron should buckle up

The Frankfurter Rundschau believes that the left's closing of ranks poses a threat to President Macron:

“If the leader of the left [Mélenchon] is able to turn the momentum of the People's Union into an election victory in June, Macron will probably have to make him his prime minister. That would not be a harmonious pairing. It still seems more likely that Macron will win the parliamentary elections. But even then he would be under massive pressure because social discontent is at a high level in France. Macron should buckle up for his second term.”

News247 (GR) /

Left focusing on core competences

Vassiliki Georgiadou, professor of politics at the Panteion University in Athens, emphasises on the website News247:

“In the context of serial crises, the demand for a welfare state, for social protection, is stronger than ever. This is also recognised by more liberal sections of the political scene. Macron himself talks about the need for social protection, about raising pensions, about introducing social contributions for companies that make high profits. Everyone sees this, but the left sees it even more clearly, because it has the thematic competence for the specific issues at hand here, and it hopes that its restoration is possible. ... The left is hatching something, and it would be a shame if the momentum were lost.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Pro-European voters being scared away

The strong dominance of La France Insoumise in the new alliance will benefit President Macron, political scientist Olivier Costa points out in Le Monde:

“Socialists and Greens pay little attention to voters of the moderate left, who massively supported Emmanuel Macron in 2017, seduced by his pro-European discourse and reform course. ... They will undoubtedly be reluctant to vote for LFI candidates, who are in the majority in the Union Populaire and believe that European integration is the wrong way to go, that the French economy will be saved by protectionism, and that France must leave Nato in the interest of its own security. In short, the Socialists and Greens have chosen to drive a large part of their former electorate into the arms of the presidential majority.”

Mediapart (FR) /

A real opportunity

Edwy Plenel, chief editor of Mediapart, hopes that limit will be placed on the president's power:

“Another five years of Emmanuel Macron without power-sharing would bring the far right even closer to the Elysée in 2027. The only way to avoid this is not to leave the re-elected president in sole power by ensuring a new majority in the parliamentary elections that can implement a different policy. In addition to this anti-fascist necessity there is also a democratic imperative. The presidential election has made the exhaustion of the institutional system so obvious that even constitutional experts recognise that it no longer fulfils its mission of representing the electorate.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Socialists have hit a low point

The Socialists' support for Mélenchon's ambitions to become prime minister is an embarrassment, La Vanguardia writes:

“This provisional agreement already makes it possible to analyse its consequences for the French left and in particular for the question of leadership, which is now being granted to Mélenchon, who was a member of the French Socialist Party until 2008. ... The fact that the latter has now agreed to join in the alliance led by Mélenchon is confirmation of its decline and the painful acknowledgement of that fact. ... The French Socialist Party, from which, paradoxically, both Macron and Mélenchon emerged, has certainly hit a low point.”

Le Temps (CH) /

A future for the left

Le Temps welcomes the formation of the new leftist alliance, even if it stands little chance of achieving a majority:

“The real goal is to give fresh impulses and credibility to a movement that never really disappeared and which is perhaps more present than ever in a young generation strongly committed to equality and climate issues. ... The three poles that emerged in the first round of the presidential elections will remain in place in the future: an identitarian far right that has yet to define its degree of economic liberalism, a broad presidential centre and a left that is not afraid to call itself radical.”

Les Echos (FR) /

A fatal scenario

Les Echos is worried:

“You have to have a deep fascination with nihilism to believe that the fairy tale of a far-left party capable of governing the country is more credible than the fake respectability of the far right. Mélenchon as prime minister? Wake up! Now that war has returned to Europe, does our country really want to entrust itself to a prime minister with such wavering convictions as those of Jean-Luc Mélenchon? A leader who is incapable of abandoning his pro-Russian convictions, reluctant to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and who sides with the rulers of dilapidated Venezuela?”


Chances of cohabitation

Commenting on the TVXS website, Syriza MEP and columnist Stelios Kouloglou speculates on the division of tasks if the leftist coalition succeeds:

“If the left-wing green-left front wins, there will be a 'cohabitation', as has been the case three times in the past, between a right-wing president and a left-wing government or vice versa. According to the constitution, defence and foreign affairs are the sole responsibility of the president, while laws are the responsibility of parliament and the government. Naturally, the president has the right to appoint a prime minister of his choice, but this would cause a profound constitutional crisis and has never been tried before.”