Mélenchon urges the French left to close an agreement for the legislative elections | International

The image of all the leaders of the French left marching behind a single banner on May 1 would have been forceful in the first great social pulse against the president, Emmanuel Macron, re-elected just a week ago. Above all, facing the legislative elections in June, where the left is looking for a majority of deputies that will allow it to contain the new macronist five-year term. Once again, it couldn’t be. Faced with the stagnation of the intense negotiations of the last week to join forces behind the Popular Union platform of the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, he urged the other leftist formations on Sunday to agree immediately and, in a veiled threat, hinted that he does not intend to allow the talks to drag on.

“If the discussions do not end tonight, they will never end,” warned the also leader of France Insumisa in an impromptu rally at the beginning of the traditional march for the international day of workers in Paris. “We are millimeters away from understanding each other,” he assured. “But we won’t indulge in endless comedy,” he threatened.

With 21.95% of the votes in the first round of the presidential elections, which left him at the gates of the second round, Mélenchon was the leftist candidate with the most votes, well ahead of the environmentalist Yannick Jadot (4.6% ), the communist Fabien Roussel (2.3%) and the socialist Anne Hidalgo (1.7%). Under this argument, the Mélenchonists have called on the other parties to join forces around their platform, Unión Popular, and their program. Mélenchon has even launched electoral propaganda for him, calling on voters to vote for him as prime minister, that is, to give him the majority of deputies in the National Assembly that would allow him to be elected as head of a cohabitation government with Macron.

Although no formation disputes the Mélenchonist advantage and the prerogatives that this entails, the insistence of the rebellious forces to accept a “strategic agreement” and not merely an electoral one, assuming the principles of a “rupturing left”, has come up against the resistance of the other parties, who fear being diluted.

The first secretary of the Socialist Party, Olivier Faure, marched in Paris on Sunday behind a banner of his own. Even so, he ran into Mélenchon and they both greeted each other before the cameras. Shortly before, the socialist responsible ―main promoter of the negotiations with the Despite the strong opposition of a minority, but influential, part of his party, he assured that the talks “will continue” in the next few hours, but rejected any ultimatum. “There is not deadline [fecha límite], it must be achieved and we see that we are not far from an agreement. We will continue talking ”, he asserted in statements collected by the Agence France Presse.

an abrupt stop

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The accelerated discussions to reach an agreement came to an abrupt halt on Friday. That day, the PS sent a proposal to the Mélenchonists assuming most of the program of the populist leftist candidate, including the questioning of “certain rules” of the European Union. However, hours later, the socialist negotiating team suspended the talks, urging their interlocutors to “break with all hegemonic logic and accept plurality.” In between, the PS itself threatened to implode in the face of the resounding rejection of the agreement by a minority but powerful current. Among them, there are historical figures of the party such as François Hollande or Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, Faure’s predecessor, who this Sunday called on the socialist leaders to “oppose” the agreement with Mélenchon and to “coordinate to resist and refound” the party. Among the critics of the pact there are also emerging forces such as the president of Occitania, Carole Delga. For this sector, the agreement with the rebels, which many senior socialist officials denounce have not been consulted, represents a “surrender”, which crosses many red lines of the European party and could mean the “end” of the party.

Meanwhile, the environmentalists and also the communists froze the negotiations with the Mélenchonists this weekend. “After several days of exchanges, we confirm that the proposals of France Insumisa, which has the primary responsibility for forging the union, have not currently allowed us to achieve our shared goal of a new leftist majority,” declared the national executive committee of the Communist Party of France (PCF) in a statement. The text calls for “a coalition of forces without hegemony and a common label that reflects our diversity.” For their part, the Mélenchonists say they do not understand the reticence and assure that, “on paper”, everything has been negotiated and that they have accepted the proposals of their interlocutors.

While the leaders of the left launched messages through the cameras, tens of thousands of people paraded this Sunday, May 1, in various cities of the country in the first major labor demonstration since the re-election of Macron, whose first term was marked by strong social protests, especially those of the yellow vests, also present this Sunday. Although the demonstrations were mostly peaceful, in Paris a minority group caused disturbances and damage to several businesses that led the still Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to denounce “unacceptable violence” and the arrest of at least 45 people.

Macron’s renewed promise to raise the retirement age to 65 has outraged most unions, who had called for a show of force on Sunday. “The mobilization on May 1 must be as massive as possible. Beyond the unions, citizens must take to the streets so that social and environmental demands are heard loudly”, said Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the CGT, one of the main unions in the country. “We cannot give Macron a blank check,” the union leader insisted. According to the CGT, more than 210,000 people demonstrated throughout France on Sunday, 50,000 in Paris. An independent count in the capital for the French press put the number of participants in the Parisian protest at 21,000. Last year, AFP recalled, Interior set the total number of protesters in France at 106,650 (170,000, according to the organizers), including 17,000 in Paris.

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