Can the New Popular Front (NFP) stop the far right in France?

Can the New Popular Front (NFP) stop the far right in France?

When French President Emmanuel Macron decided to call early elections following his centrist bloc’s devastating defeat in European elections earlier this month to Marie Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN), he was betting that if the French electorate were faced with a choice so difficult that they would once again rally to its side as the best chance to stop the rise of fascism.

What he apparently did not foresee was the union of the many factions of the left and the traditionally antagonistic Greens in an improbable New Popular Front coalition, which could relegate his centrist bloc to third place. place in the first round of voting next Sunday – but that seems to be the case. what the polls now suggest.

Extract from the Guardian’s analysis of the upcoming French elections:

Even if the four parties have declared having made concessions, the NFP’s program is clearly influenced by that of the hard left LFI, including promises of a considerable increase in public spending. At 110%, France’s debt rate is the third highest in the euro zone.

He promises to reverse Macron’s controversial pension reforms and reduce the retirement age to 60; increase public sector salaries; link wages to inflation; increase housing allowances and youth allowances; reduce income tax and social security for the lowest incomes; and introduce a wealth tax on the rich.

On foreign affairs, the alliance said it would demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, recognize the state of Palestine, “end Moscow’s war of aggression” in Ukraine, continue to supply arms to kyiv and would “unfailingly defend the sovereignty and freedom of the Ukrainian people”. “.

Mélenchon himself is known for his many pro-Moscow statements, but he moderated his position after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The same four parties formed a comparable pact, known as Nupes, in the aftermath of the 2022 presidential elections and ahead of the subsequent parliamentary vote…

Although it was never formally dissolved, this alliance effectively collapsed last year in part because of Mélenchon’s domineering and aggressive character and his increasingly radical positions, but also because of deep political differences over support for Ukraine, the war in Gaza and the EU.

The parties appear determined to make it work, winning the support of fierce Mélenchon critic Raphaël Glucksmann, who led a moderate socialist list to third place in the European parliamentary elections, and former PS president François Hollande.

But it is not clear who will lead the NFP or who will be its prime ministerial candidate. Glucksmann and others excluded Mélenchon, saying the NFP needed a consensus-seeking body… Mélenchon has promised to step down, but for the moment his iron grip on LFI remains.

Polls place the NPF between 28 and 30% of the national vote, compared to around 33% for Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) and just 19% for Macron’s centrist coalition.