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FRANCE’S Socialist Party reached an agreement in principle today with Jean-Luc Melenchon’s La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) to form an alliance for the legislative elections.
The Communist Party struck a deal with Mr Melenchon last night, and the Greens did so earlier this week, meaning the French left could display its greatest unity in decades as it seeks to win a majority in the National Assembly and make Mr Melenchon, who came a narrow third in the recent presidential election, prime minister.
La France Insoumise MP Adrien Quatennens declared: “We can and will beat [President] Emmanuel Macron and we can do it with a majority to govern for a radical programme.”
The electoral alliance, to be known as the Social and Ecological People’s Union, will see the partners agree not to stand against each other, with one left candidate chosen for each of France’s 577 constituencies.
The Greens will reportedly stand in 100 of these, the Socialists in 60 and the Communists in 50, though the Communists received 200,000 more votes than the Socialists in the presidential election.
An outline legislative programme includes the declaration of a Sixth Republic, a minimum wage of €1,400 (£1,180) a month, restoring the wealth tax removed by Mr Macron’s government, raising corporation tax and committing to “disobedience to the rules of the European Union” whenever these conflict with its redistributive programme.
Price controls on essentials and lowering the retirement age are other agreed policies.
On some areas of disagreement — the Greens and La France Insoumise oppose nuclear power for example, while the Communists support it — they would be permitted to vote different ways.
“Together, let us make history by winning these elections,” Communist leader Fabien Roussel declared.
But grandees in the once powerful Socialist Party, whose electoral humiliation with just 1.75 per cent of the presidential vote last month shocked a party that held the presidency as recently as 2017, including former leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, called on its national committee not to ratify the alliance, saying it posed a threat to the EU.
Right-wing French pundits like defence and foreign affairs specialist Samy Cohen are warning the electorate to give Mr Macron’s supporters a majority or risk “confusion” in French foreign policy.
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