July 20, 2024

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French leftists move to shore up alliance ahead of snap elections

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Leaders of France’s leftwing New Popular Front moved to shore up their new alliance for forthcoming snap elections after it was rocked by a far-left party purge of moderates.

Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon enraged colleagues and the leaders of other parties late on Friday when he removed several of his critics and proponents of the alliance from his party’s list of candidates.

He included in the list Adrien Quatennens, a protégé and controversial MP from Mélenchon’s France Insoumise — France Unbowed, or LFI — party, who has a conviction for domestic violence, prompting a furious reaction from other NPF leaders.

On Saturday, Mélenchon was defiant about his purge, telling news outlet 20minutes.fr that “political coherence and loyalty in the left’s largest parliamentary group are imperative for governing”.

But on Sunday, Quatennens withdrew his candidacy in what appeared to signal a partial retreat by Mélenchon.

Mélenchon, a deeply polarising politician, suggested he would not insist on becoming prime minister if the left emerged from the election with the most seats. A Mélenchon premiership would be a troubling prospect for the other left parties and many voters.

Adrien Quatennens has withdrawn from the election after his inclusion on France Insoumise’s list of candidates prompted a furious reaction © Adrien Quatennens Youtube Channel/AFP via Getty Images

“If you don’t think I should be prime minister, I won’t,” he told France TV, addressing his NPF comrades.

The creation of a united leftwing front is a crucial development in the run-up to the elections on June 30 and July 7. It could seriously harm the prospects of candidates for Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance by making it much harder for them to qualify for the second-round run-off.

The leftwing parties are deeply divided on the economy, EU policy…

2024-06-16 09:25:23

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