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French Leftist Unity Movement Could Be Last Chance for Elections


PARIS – The dismal state of the French ahead of the presidential election in April is encapsulated in a series of recent phone calls by Arnaud Montebourg, a minister of the Socialist government whose campaign is general. system is barely registered in the polls.

Mr. Montebourg posted some videos on Twitter about him calling four other leftist candidates, all of whom were voting badly. It was an awkward last-chance bid to urge Socialists, Greens, Communists and other leftists to unite for a single presidential ticket or be left-winged and left-winged. the far right crushed in April.

No one picked up the phone.

With elections approaching, the left – once a powerful force in French politics – is now largely fraying, and many of its most familiar faces seem incapable of something that both experts and advocates say offers the only viable path to victory: unity.

In a country move to the right, the left did not speak up on issues such as Guard, immigration and national identityand it failed to capitalize on the outcry environment and social balance which should have provided an opportunity for support.

“The left is in an unprecedented state of ideological fragility,” said Rémi Lefebvre, a professor of political science at the University of Lille. “In this context, being divided means suicide.”

But amid the ineffectual chaos, there is now a push for order.

Ignoring traditional party tactics,”Right of the people, a burgeoning effort led by a left-wing group exhausted by the sectarianism and fragmentation of parties, will hold a vote in January for supporters to choose a candidate. single member before French voters consider the whole.

Together, the candidates will get about a quarter of the vote, or about 20 points lower than the French a decade ago. The chances of any unified candidate from the left receiving enough votes to make it to the next round of the two-part race – which will most likely face the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron – appear low.

But the attempt to hold a January primary offers no hope of a path toward a revived sense of conformity for the left. And it could potentially disrupt another presidential campaign that was ended by entrance to Éric Zemmour, a far-right writer and television celebrity, joined the race.

“We’re talking about the left – there are some new pressures,” said Lefebvre, professor of political science. But he added that it remains unclear whether the momentum behind the primary will be enough to overcome the deep divisions of the parties.

France’s left has long been dominated by the Socialist Party and its socio-democracy, but Mr. Macron’s victory in the 2017 presidential election ended the two-party system it enjoys. secured a comfortable position.

The left is now a careless amalgamation, mostly divided between the Socialists, the Greens and the French leftist Unbowed – not to mention the group of small leftist parties that have emerged after the recent collapse. like the Communist Party.

The leaders of the main campaign worked in January, negotiating for months with most of these parties to find common ground. 10 suggestions for social and climate justice, including raising taxes on the rich and ending pesticide use by 2030.

More than 300,000 people have signed on to the initiative, equivalent to 40% of all leftist party members in France. They will vote in January to nominate a candidate and have pledged to campaign on his behalf.

But it will be a long road.

Lefebvre said that until recently, leftist parties had “scorned” the People’s Party, seeing it as a competitive force that could threaten their interests.

Samuel Grzybowski, a spokesman for the effort, said his group has come under pressure from established parties to end the preliminary process, with some even offering to help them win seats in the National Assembly. union if they leave the presidential race.

“Long time ago Baron Noir,” he said, referring to a The hit TV series depicts the dark side of French political life – French version of “House of Cards”.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of France Unbowed, described the calls for unification as too late and “pathetic”. But gradually, the tide has begun to turn.

Mr. Montebourg’s desperate appeals drew attention, and then Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris and the candidate of the Socialist Party, whose approval rating has dropped below 5%, admits that the left is headed for a disaster.

“This broken fruit, this fruit today causes many of our compatriots to despair, to regroup,” she said. France’s most watched news program in the first day of this month. “We have to hold a preliminary meeting,” she added, then voiced support for the main effort.

Then a public letter urge the parties to agree on a master account, following similar calls from members of different parties.

This movement has increased once more when Christiane Taubira, a charismatic former justice minister under his command Francois Hollande, Chairman of the Socialist Party of France from 2012 to 2017, announced that she is “considering” running for president and that she will put all her “power into the last chances of reunification.” The next day, she said, the main effort “seems to be the last space in which this unity can be built.”

Taubira’s move is likely to put more pressure on candidates who have so far not entered the left-wing primaries, such as the Greens’ Yannick Jadot. Minutes after Taubira’s announcement, Sandrine Rousseau, a leader of the Greens who is also campaigning for Mr. Jadot, indicates an “union of the left” is necessary.

“The balance of power is in our favor,” Mr. Grzybowski said.

The citizens’ call for primaries reflected growing discontent with traditional leftist parties. Many on the left now consider the party’s policies on social justice and an equal economy to be outdated. Some still watch Mr. Hollande’s business-friendly policy a betrayal.

“It is no longer the political parties that drive public debate,” said Hugo Viel, a 23-year-old engineering graduate student and Primary School volunteer.

“It’s the social movements, the climate marches, the #MeToo, the Yellow Vests,” he added, referring to the many recent protests that have left France unrecovered, over issues subject like economic imbalance, racist and domestic violence.

But leftist parties have struggled to translate those protests into concrete proposals and broader support. They were disconnected from these social movements, struggled to gain traction outside the big cities, and engaged in intense internal infighting, such as those of Feminist and against racism from different generations in conflict.

“This left wing is losing contact with the base,” said Michel Wieviorka, a French sociologist. “It has lost its ability to present new social and cultural protests, and at the same time, the old protests of workers and unions are slipping through its fingers.”

Where it will all lead is unclear, but poll taken this month shows that nearly three-quarters of left-wing voters now support the primaries, and an average of about 8,000 people have joined the primaries every day for the past two weeks, Grzybowski said.

Alain Coulombel, a member of the Greens leadership supporting the primaries, lamented that the left is heading for the election without arming itself with “all the weapons to win”. He estimated that the agendas of the parties converged on nearly 80% of the proposals.

All the French had to do, he said, was “put the puzzles together”.





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