France: left organises itself against the right

In response to the resounding victory of the right-wing nationalist Rassemblement National (RN) in the European elections, a broad alliance of left-wing, far-left and green parties has formed in France with the aim of defeating the RN in the snap parliamentary elections called for late June and July. Among other things, the Nouveau Front populaire, or New Popular Front, wants to lower the retirement age and increase the minimum wage. Commentators are divided in their assessments.

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La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Europe is in for a shock wave

La Libre Belgique is worried:

“If there is no Republican surge in the parliamentary elections, which is unlikely, Macron could face the scenario of a cohabitation. ... This would open up the office of prime minister to one of the two radical blocs: Marine Le Pen's RN or the Nouveau Front populaire. ... Two forces that, beyond their ideological differences, have in common that they are based on incoherent, demagogic and above all unaffordable economic programmes for a state in which public spending and tax levels have already reached record highs. The French social model is in peril, and the shock wave for Europe is unavoidable.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Time to set priorities

In Le Monde, Raphaël Glucksmann defends the decision of his environmentalist social democratic movement Place Publique to join the New Popular Front as follows:

“I understand the unease of many voters who voted on 9 June for the social-democratic, ecological and pro-European path that I outlined during the European election campaign. ... But when the far right is on the threshold of power, it becomes a duty to prioritise the dangers. And who can seriously believe that the greatest threat to the Republic comes from a divided France insoumise that is absorbed into a broad electoral coalition over which it has no control, when the Rassemblement National can win an absolute majority in the National Assembly in less than three weeks' time? ... Only the left can be the dam that French democracy so urgently needs.”

Le Quotidien (LU) /

Brussels getting the shivers

The upcoming election in France could send the EU into a tailspin, fears Le Quotidien:

“Even if Emmanuel Macron remains president, regardless of the result, the EU could be in for troubled times. If one of its founding countries with great demographic and economic clout starts to get feverish, the entire continent will get the shivers. All the more so given that the EU itself is also taking a beating in this French election campaign. ... We are all economically interconnected and we have a common currency. One country's blunders can send the others into a tailspin. And if we take a close look at certain election programmes, we have every reason to break out in a cold sweat.”

Libération (FR) /

A slightly crazy hope

Libération sees the alliance of Socialists, Communists and Greens as a chance for more equality:

“The rapid emergence of the New Popular Front, an electoral cartel that seems to be the only response equal to these times in which the far right is closer than ever to the gates of power, has awakened hope on the left. ... The result is a vigour whose potential at the ballot box is difficult to gauge, and a hope that is almost a little crazy. Because the programme that the New Popular Front has put on the table has something very desirable about it. A break with the past that puts the question of equality back at the centre of the discussion. And so we begin to dream, probably a little more than we should.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Moderation apparently no longer in keeping with the times

La Vanguardia worries:

“Internationally, France's image will continue to be associated with Macronism. But depending on the outcome its domestic policy will become another thorn in the EU's side. Only Macron is an ambassador for the EU understood as a compendium of the permanent balances between the right, the traditional left and the liberals. The other two forces, the Rassemblement National with more vehemence, and the Front Populaire with more checks and balances, are playing a different game: one you enter once you're convinced that moderation is no longer in keeping with the times. Bad times, because it's always in bad times that you have to resort to fronts.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

An alliance full of contradictions

A psychodrama is playing out on the left, Corriere della Sera comments mockingly:

“The left has revived the Popular Front. An alliance that won the 1936 elections, carried out a historic reform and almost immediately lost power. ... Now, to confirm that the tragedy is repeating itself as a farce, the Communists, Socialists and hardliners from La France Insoumise - in other words Jean-Luc Mélenchon - are christening their alliance the 'Front Populaire'. And they are at odds with Raphaël Glucksmann, who has just brought the Socialist list to 14 percent in the European elections [and whose support was initially conditional]. ... He is Jewish, the grandson of refugees who escaped the death camps [and is critical of some of the Front's positions in the Middle East conflict].”