France’s left is in a sorry state. It took a bashing in local elections in March and then European elections in May. The ruling socialists plunged to an all time low of less than 14%. The radical Front de Gauche, comprising the communists and other leftists like Jean Luc Melenchon, polled just 6.3%, down from the 11% for Jean Luc Melenchon in the Presidential elections in 2012, and no higher than its national elections results the same year. And meanwhile the nasty Marine le Pen and her far right Front National stole the no.1 spot vote with an historic 25% score.
Now the Front de Gauche and a growing group of dissident socialists want to turn the tide back in favour of left policies and are starting to talk seriously about binding together. Joining this left ‘coalition of the willing’ are the greens, former socialist coalition partners who quite the government after the recent reshuffle that saw the right-wing and eco-unfriendly Manuel Valls become PM. Continue reading
If you base your assessment of what’s going on politically in Europe on the BBC coverage of the Euro elections, you’ll be aware of the massive victory of the Front National in France and not too much else. The parallel rise of the far left was under-reported and where it was covered, the preferred terminology was ‘far right and eurosceptic parties’. Commentators seemed allergic to talking about a left victory. But left victory there was too.
While the big story was the shocking victory of Marine Le Pen’s party – the Front National moved from 6.34% in the 2009 Euro elections to 24.95%, a quadrupling of the vote – Syriza, the Greek radical left party, saw an even greater increase in its support. From 4.7% in 2009, it reached 26.55%, emerging almost 4 points ahead of its nearest rival, the rightwing New Democracy. Continue reading
The radical left could become the third force in the European parliament, after the conservatives and social democrats, according to recent polls.
Syriza in Greece leads with 26.2 % support, followed by Portugal, Spain and France. With a month to go to the European Parliament elections, polls suggest the Parliamentary Group of the European United Left (GUE – NGL) could increase the number of MEPs from 35 members to between 50 and 60, potentially overtaking the liberals (ALDE).
Led by Greece’s opposition leader Alexis Tsipras, the biggest gains for the radical left will be in southern Europe, led by Greece where all projections show his party Syriza in the lead. According to Pollwatch, which compiles European surveys in all member states, the Greek coalition stands as the first force in Greece with 26.2 %. Continue reading
Thousands of people protested in Paris on Saturday calling for a change in the austerity policies of President Francois Hollande. The Front de Gauche, whose principle components are the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Parti de Gaunche, led the demonstration that declared “Hollande, enough!” and rallied “against austerity” and for “equality and the redistribution of wealth”. Continue reading
There are signs this week that the Front de Gauche founded by former Socialist (PS) Senator Jean-Luc Mélenchon may be in terminal trouble. It seems that Pierre Laurent, leader of the Communist PCF, and Mélenchon are not on speaking terms. Communist sources claim that Mélenchon makes all decisions without consultation and expects others to fall in line, whilst the PCF stand accused of committing the Front de Gauche (an alliance of the PCF and Mélenchon’s Parti de Gauche or PG) to backing the PS list in Paris without agreement. Continue reading