French greens, far left strike deal ahead of parliamentary vote

Melenchon’s far-left LFI movement agrees to form a joint front with France’s green EELV party against Macron’s La Republique en March.

Jean-Luc Melenchon
Melenchon came in third in April's presidential elections [File: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters]

Jean-Luc Melenchon’s far-left LFI movement has struck a deal with France’s green EELV party to form a joint front against President Emmanuel Macron in the June parliamentary elections.

Both parties agreed not to compete against each other in the two rounds of voting on June 12 and 19.

“Historic moment. The deal between LFI and EELV is done,” lawmaker Adrien Quatennens, one of LFI’s campaign coordinators, said on Monday.

Manon Aubry, an LFI member of the European Parliament, also told France Info radio: “This is a popular union around a joint programme … to govern together, because this is the aim.”

Opposition parties on the left and the right of France’s political spectrum are trying to form alliances to beat Macron’s La Republique en March party in the June parliamentary vote.

French media on Monday reported that EELV had approved a text detailing the deal with LFI on Sunday, calling it the “new popular ecology and social union”.

Presidential vote

The move comes after Melenchon, who came in third in April’s presidential elections and barely missed the runoff behind far-right populist Marine Le Pen, called on all left-leaning parties to join forces with his movement to “elect [him] prime minister”.

The LFI-EELV deal includes aims of lowering the retirement age to 60, raising the minimum wage and capping prices on essential products, said Manon Aubry, adding that agreements with other parties of the left would follow.

Manuel Bompard, a spokesman for Melenchon’s campaign, told France Inter radio on Monday that talk with other parties would continue “in the next hours”.

During May Day protests on Sunday, Melenchon was also spotted hugging Olivier Faure, the head of France’s Socialist Party, a sign of potential unity after talks between LFI and the Socialists stalled last week.

Melenchon, himself once a member of the Socialists before leaving the party in a spat over its stance on the European Union, has caused a long-lasting feud in the left wing. The Socialists are more pro-EU than he is.

LFI and EELV said in a joint statement that both wanted to put an end to the “neoliberal” course of the EU and would instead aim “for a new project serving ecological and social construction”.

According to first opinion polls ahead of the parliamentary elections, a left-wing alliance would not reach a majority against the bloc that supports Macron.

Source: Reuters