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The union of the left, this Arlésienne in whom many people do not believe

The leaders of the various left-wing parties meet on Saturday at the initiative of Yannick Jadot who, at the end of March, launched a call for union for the presidential election of 2022. If there is no shortage of convergences, many believe that personal ambitions and party logic risk taking precedence over collective ambition.

The union of the left, the return. The question has come up so often in this political family since 2017, without the positions really moving, that some see it as a bad joke. A “running gag” deplored by a left-wing electorate who calls on its representatives to unite.

We owe the new episode of this soap opera to Yannick Jadot. The ephemeral Europe Ecology-The Greens candidate for the 2017 presidential election – he lined up behind the socialist candidate Benoît Hamon – and putative 2022 presidential candidate invited, at the end of March, the leaders of the left to meet to talk about common program and single application.

After several weeks of suspense, the meeting of the left will take place, Saturday, March 17, in the 19th arrondissement, in Paris. “In a place which does not bear any symbol and which simply allows 15 to 20 people to meet in compliance with the health protocols linked to Covid-19”, indicates the entourage of the MEP at France 24, who prefers to maintain secrecy until at the last minute on the location and precise identity of the participants.

According to our information, all the left-wing parties will be represented there, with one or more representatives per party, including Olivier Faure and Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party), Julien Bayou, Yannick Jadot, Éric Piolle and Sandrine Rousseau (Europe Écologie- Les Verts), Benoît Hamon (Génération.s), Éric Coquerel (La France insoumise), Ian Brossat (Communist Party), Raphaël Glucksmann (Public square) or Guillaume Lacroix (Radical Left Party).

>> To read: Municipal 2020: after the green wave, the return of the left to the fore?

But the big absentee from this meeting will be Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Already a declared candidate for the next presidential election, the leader of LFI is currently traveling to South America and will be represented on Saturday. His position is however well known: the Insubordinate, who considers himself best placed to represent the left against Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, affirmed, on April 8 on BFM TV, his refusal to participate in a “tap dance number to say ‘more unitary than me you die’ “, demanding above all from the meeting a” non-aggression pact “and a common front on certain fights against the right and the” macronie “.

“Give hope to left-wing voters”

Under these conditions, should we expect something from this meeting? “The goal will be, collectively, to give hope to left-wing voters, assures the entourage of Yannick Jadot. We need to talk to each other to decide what is possible to do.”

Four avenues have been drawn up: to enter into a non-aggression pact – while the recent controversies over secularism or single-sex meetings have continued to divide the left -, to launch joint actions on subjects where there is strong convergence. , move forward on a possible joint program and, as a last resort, discuss the possibility of a joint application in 2022.

>> To read: Europe Écologie-The Greens in search of a union of the left

Arithmetic logic would indeed want the left to get along. Recent polls give it largely left behind, whatever the scenario, by Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen in the first round. According to the latest Ifop-Fiducial poll for Le Journal du Dimanche and Sud Radio, the total of left-wing votes peaked at around 25%, Jean-Luc Mélenchon obtaining the best score with, depending on the different configurations, between 10 and 13.5 % of voting intentions. And even in the case of a joint PS-PCF-EELV application, no other candidate exceeds 10%. Worse, the poll shows a rout of any left-wing candidate in a hypothetical second round against the far right.


“It is a sufficient alert for everyone to understand that if we do not make the effort to understand each other, to understand each other, and above all to explain to the French that there is an alternative on the left, then we will disappear the ones and the others “, warned Thursday morning the first secretary of the PS, Olivier Faure, on Franceinfo.

Especially since the points of convergence are not lacking. “There are many things that can bring us together: ecology, the fight against inequalities, the issue of tax redistribution, public service issues”, thus enumerated Thursday morning the national secretary of EELV, Julien Bayou, on LCI, who wishes to be able to lead to “a government contract” with the other left political forces.

“A personal approach to promote his candidacy”

Listening to these political leaders, the time has come for them to meet again. And the left-wing electorate might be tempted to believe it if they hadn’t seen the same play before. Already in 2018, the Place publique movement was created with the aim of uniting the left for the 2019 European elections. Meetings had already been organized, but at the time, Yannick Jadot had not participated in them. , eyeing more to the center than to the left. A minimum agreement had ended up being concluded between the party of Raphaël Glucksmann and the PS.

Two years later, Yannick Jadot displays a new state of mind, like Benoît Hamon, now politically out of the game since his double defeat in the 2017 presidential election (6.36% of the vote) and in the 2019 Europeans (3, 3% of the votes). “Let us agree on our disagreements and aggregate what brings us together,” wrote the former minister in a column in Le Monde, published Wednesday, April 14.

Despite these calls and the goodwill displayed, it is however mistrust that predominates, each suspecting the other of hidden intentions. Yannick Jadot, himself, is accused of having launched this initiative to place himself above his own party and thus avoid the box of an uncertain EELV primary – the Greens used to eliminate the supposed favorite – to be held in September.

“Yannick is in a personal process of promoting his candidacy”, tackle in particular the former boss of EELV, David Cormand, questioned by AFP, who expects nothing from the “staging” of Saturday.

>> Long format: Faced with Macron and Le Pen, can the environmental left unite?

Even beyond personal ambitions, party logic is at work. When asked whether EELV could line up behind the candidate of another leftist party, Julien Bayou replied in the negative Thursday morning on LCI. “We have already done that,” he said. “Today we say that ecology must be the backbone of a gathering.”

And it is still the same political approach which pushes the national secretary of the PCF, Fabien Roussel, to run for president. Elected at the head of the Communist Party in 2018 on the promise of an autonomous candidacy in 2022 – which would be a first since 2007 -, the deputy of the North, who will send Ian Brossat to represent him at the meeting of the left, ensures that the return to the foreground of the ideas carried by his party can only go through a presidential candidacy.

“We are going there ourselves without illusion,” said LFI number 2 Adrien Quatennens on Thursday morning on France Inter about Saturday’s meeting, considering that “the main problem of the left, it is not its disunity, it is its weakness, its capacity to circulate new ideas “.

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