General elections: Concessions to Mélenchon’s party divide the Socialist Party of France | International


Mistrust continues to mark the difficult negotiations between the French left-wing parties that are seeking how to overcome their deep differences to present a united front ahead of the legislative elections in June. The Socialist negotiators unexpectedly suspended this Friday the new round of talks with the melenchonists to demand a “guarantee” that the team of the leader of the populist left Jean-Luc Mélenchon “breaks with all hegemonic logic”.

The break occurs at a time when the Socialist Party itself seemed on the verge of implosion on Friday, after, first thing in the morning, it sent a proposal to Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s party, France Insumisa, in which it assumes most of the program of the candidate of the populist left. Including the questioning of “certain rules” of the European Union, a red line until now that has set off the alarms of a part of the socialists, who view with concern what they consider a “surrender” to the postulates melenchonistsopenly eurosceptic.

“We want to achieve an agreement from the entire left and environmentalists. But to achieve this, that means really sharing a logic. We must break with all hegemonic logic and accept plurality. At this stage, we have no guarantees”, wrote the first secretary of the PS, Olivier Faure, to those responsible for the various socialist federations, according to information from L’Obs which was also confirmed by Agence France Presse.

According to Faure, one of the main promoters of the dialogue with the melenchonists, the Popular Union (name under which Mélenchon ran for the presidential elections in which he came third with 22% of the votes, well ahead of the 4.6% of the ecologist Yannick Jadot and the 1.7% of the socialist Anne Hidalgo) it is the one that has the “responsibility to unite” the left. And to do so, he added, “you must demonstrate your willingness to initiate new practices. For the time being, we suspend discussions,” he added. The chief socialist negotiator, Pierre Jouvet, limited himself to stating that there were still “disagreements”, he said at the end of the negotiations at the headquarters of the rebels in Paris.

But the negotiations with the rebels are not the only concern of the Socialists, a party that this Friday showed how deeply divided it is. Two days after Socialists and melenchonists declare, after months of clashes, that there are no “insurmountable obstacles” to a rapprochement, the PS sent this Friday its response to the rebellious ones who, from accepting their positions so much, has provoked lively reactions on the part of the socialist barons, who They have warned of a break with the pillars of the party, especially with regard to its Europeanism, which has so far been seamless.

“We refuse to endanger the European construction or allow a fracture to be created between France and the EU”, the Socialists assure in their statement to the melenchonists. However, they immediately add, “we need a break from the liberal course of European construction, a new project at the service of ecological and social transformation.” Without going as far as melenchonistswho openly speak of “disobeying” certain European treaties, the socialists, in their new position, use a more ambiguous “questioning of the rules” and speak of the need to discuss a “review of the treaties”, in addition to expressing their opposition to a “return to the stability pact”.

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“After the launch of green deal, the covid crisis has led to the first major inflections, often under the impetus of European socialists and social democrats, with the constitution of a common debt, the suspension of the stability pact and the beginning of questioning the rules regarding competition”, they explain. “This parenthesis should not be closed, on the contrary,” they insist.

The socialist negotiators, largely from the youngest wing of the party and who have the support of Olivier Faure, who these days has invited those who do not share the idea of ​​negotiating to “leave” the party, affirm that their position is a reading of the polls.

“Our duty is to listen to the message that the left-wing voters and ecologists sent us in the first presidential round,” the PS justifies what most of the press considers a radical shift in its position so far. Those voters “would not forgive us for forcing them once again to vote to curb the extreme right, nor roll out the red carpet for a parliamentary majority that emerged from the alliance of liberalism and the conservative right,” adds the PS, referring to the president. re-elected, Emmanuel Macron, and his possible search for allies among the moderate right.

But many of the historical figures and other heavyweights of the PS make a very different reading that has strongly heated social networks in recent hours.

Quoting one of the icons of the left, Pierre Mendès-France, the president of the Occitanie region and rising figure of the PS, Carole Delga, tweeted after learning of her party’s statement (to which she, highly critical of Mélenchon, opposes): “Morality in politics prohibits strategy and convictions from diverging, even for reasons of temporary opportunity.”

“The republican, social and ecological left cannot turn its back on Europe through ‘disobedience,’” wrote Michaël Delafosse, mayor of Montpellier and one of the spokesmen for Hidalgo’s campaign. For another of the historical socialists, Julien Dray, Faure “has just signed a political capitulation that renounces his own history and his own commitments”, for which, he maintained, “disobedience is an imperative” for socialist militants.

The former president François Hollande had also expressed his reluctance the day before to a pact that, he warned, would mean the “disappearance” of the PS. “That agreement, as it stands, is unacceptable. If the PS adopts it, its leaders would have decided its disappearance. I wish it to be postponed so that the PS can envision a union with the environmentalists and the communists,” he said on Franceinfo radio.

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