New Popular Front

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

New Popular Front
Nouveau Front populaire
Abbreviation
LeaderCollective leadership
Founders
Founded10 June 2024 (2024-06-10)
Preceded byNew Ecological and Social People's Union
Political positionLeft-wing[A]
Colours
  •   Green
  •   Red
  •   Yellow
  •   Purple
  •   Raspberry
Senate
98 / 348
National Assembly
180 / 577
European Parliament
27 / 81
Website
nouveaufrontpopulaire.fr

^ A: The Front is described as a broad left-wing alliance,[2] with centre-left and far-left factions.[3]

The New Popular Front (French: Nouveau Front populaire [nuvo fʁɔ̃ pɔpylɛːʁ], NFP) is a broad left-wing electoral alliance in France.[b] It was launched on 10 June 2024 to contest the 2024 French legislative election following the gains of far-right parties in the 2024 European Parliament election in France. The Front stood in opposition to both Ensemble, the presidential camp of Emmanuel Macron, as well as the far-right National Rally.

The Front is an alliance of La France Insoumise, the Socialist Party, the Ecologists, the French Communist Party, Génération·s, Place Publique, the Republican and Socialist Left, the New Anticapitalist Party, and other centre-left and left-wing political parties, composing the majority of left-wing political parties in France. With the unifying motive of defeating the far-right National Rally, its name echoes the interwar anti-fascist alliance the Popular Front.

The Front agreed to a common distribution of candidates and political platform. The platform includes scrapping the 2023 French pension reform law, increasing public sector salaries and welfare benefits, raising the minimum wage by 14 percent, and freezing the price of basic food items and energy. This would be funded by reintroducing a wealth tax, cancelling many tax breaks for the wealthy, and raising income tax on the highest earners. On other issues, such as foreign policy and European integration, the Front's policies are closer to the centre-left.

Pushing for a mobilization of organized labour, political associations, and civil society, the Front received the largest number of seats in the 2024 legislative elections, gaining a relative majority in the National Assembly with 182 members elected. La France Insoumise won the most seats out of all parties in the alliance at 72 seats.

Background

Before the 2022 French legislative election, several parties of the French left founded the New Ecological and Social People's Union (NUPES) electoral alliance to jointly contest the election against National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen and the main representative of far-right politics in France, and En Marche, the political party of the incumbent French president Emmanuel Macron.[5] Although collectively able to form the leading opposition bloc, the alliance failed to agree to form a singular parliamentary grouping. Regardless, this denied Macron a majority in the French Parliament.[6] Amid divisions, NUPES was dissolved in June 2023.[7]

History

Formation

First logo of the New Popular Front

On 9 June, the 2024 European Parliament election in France took place, with exit polls indicating that the National Rally had received twice as many votes as Renaissance, Macron's party, in what was described as a crushing defeat for the incumbent president.[3] The French left's main leaders warned that the far right was "at the door of power".[8] NUPES did not take part under one ballot but under many, and the Socialist Party returned as the largest part of the French left, ahead of La France Insoumise;[9] the Socialist Party rose from 6 to 14 percent, while La France Insoumise scored 10 percent.[10] Responding to his underperformance and tapping into the divided French left,[11] Macron dissolved the parliament to call for snap elections, with the first round scheduled for 30 June and a second for 7 July.[12]

After the announcement of fresh elections, some called to renew NUPES and form a new left-wing alliance, amid the 2024 French protests against the far-right,[13] after its member parties had broken up over personal and policy disagreements,[14] from nuclear energy to the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.[9] Leftist politician François Ruffin called on all left-wing parties, including the the Ecologists, to form a popular front.[15] Socialist Party leader Olivier Faure called to "create a popular front against the far right" but dismissed the notion of the left allying itself with Macron and criticized his policies.[16]

On 10 June, the New Popular Front, also called the Ecological and Social Popular Front,[17] was announced with an intent to "build an alternative to Emmanuel Macron and fight the racist project of the extreme right" in the upcoming elections.[18][19][20] The alliance was formed in order to stop the far-right National Rally party from taking power.[14] The name intends to hark back on the old Popular Front formed in the 1930s.[8][11][14] The alliance, which in addition to the main left-wing parties also includes several trade union and anti-racist groups,[8] agreed to a single joint slate of candidates going into the first round of the elections,[21] making the French left the strongest and main challenger to the National Rally.[9][22]

2024 French legislative election

Initially, the Front did not designate a possible next prime minister of France in the event of success in the legislative election. On 12 June, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was confident of being prime minister but added he was neither excluding nor imposing himself.[23] On 16 June, he expressed his willingness to step aside for the sake of unity, saying: "I will never be the problem. If you don't want me to be prime minister, I won't be."[9] On 22 June, Mélenchon stepped up to this responsibility, saying that it was agreed that the largest parliamentary group within the Front would present its candidate for prime minister.[24][25] For Raphaël Glucksmann and Carole Delga, the left-wing candidate for prime minister would not be Mélenchon. After his 22 June speech, Mélenchon's figure was brandished by the National Rally and the presidential camp as a repellent.[26][27]

Several voices in the coalition opposed this hypothesis,[28][29] considering Mélenchon not unifying enough, in particular Fabien Roussel, Clémentine Autain, François Hollande, and Marine Tondelier.[30] On 24 June, Mélenchon said he was not a candidate but that the prime minister would be from La France Insoumise. On 25 June, François Ruffin said Mélenchon impeded the Front.[31][32] Ruffin and Roussel said they were ready to take on this responsibility.[33][34] Valérie Rabault, the vice-president of the French National Assembly, said she was in favour of a female candidate, citing Delga, Clémentine Autain, and herself.[35] Former CFDT leader Laurent Berger was also proposed by Glucksmann and Sandrine Rousseau.[36] On 22 June, a LegiTrack poll by OpinionWay-Vae Solis for Les Echos and Radio Classique showed that in the event of the Front's victory, the French would prefer a prime minister from the Socialist Party (at 44 percent) rather than from La France Insoumise (at 25 percent).[37]

Of the 546 candidates for the Front, 229 were from La France Insoumise, 175 from the Socialist Party, 92 from the Ecologists, and 50 from the French Communist Party,[9] reflecting the Socialist Party's resurgence.[10] After its establishment, polling showed that 25 to 28 percent of likely voters backed the Front, behind the 31 percent who supported the National Rally but ahead of Macron and his allies, estimated to be below 20 percent;[9] a mid-June IFOP poll similarly showed a gridlock situation, with the Front at 29 percent, behind the National Rally at 34 percent and the presidential camp at 22 percent.[2] In the first round, the Front finished five points behind the National Rally, with Macron and his allies coming a distant third.[14] According to a tracker from the Financial Times, the Front had the second most first-place finishes (156) after the National Rally (296) and the presidential camp (65). Among these who finished second, the Front had 158 candidates, compared to 154 for Macron's camp and the 117 of the National Rally. Overall, as many as 85 candidates had cleared the 50 percent threshold to win election in the first round, and 291 third-place candidates across the three leading blocs qualified for the second round.[38] Afterwards, attempts were made to build a Republican front, asking their candidates from three-way races to drop out in order to reduce the likelihood of a National Rally victory in the runoff election.[14]

The Front soon made clear it was willing to withdraw its candidate and support the presidential camp against the far-right where it had little likelihood of victory. In turn, the presidential camp offered to do the same, although Macron's indications were less clear. During the electoral campaign, Macron focused on attacking the left and said that as a general rule his coalition would also withdraw its candidates who had finished third but not always; for example, he said he would evaluate cases where candidates from La France Insoumise came second on an individual basis. Several voters and French newspapers, including Libération and L'Humanité, criticized the presidential camp for this ambiguity.[39] As of 5 July 2024, this Republican front resulted in the withdrawal of more than 130 of the Front's candidates, along with about 80 candidates of Macron's party and presidential camp. As a result, the Front made it harder for the National Rally to achieve an absolute majority, with the latest polls indicating that while the National Rally was still well positioned to win the most seats in the National Assembly, it might fall short of the 289 needed for an absolute majority.[14]

Aftermath

According to the final results, the Front obtained 182 seats, ahead of Ensemble with 168 seats and the National Rally plus a minority of The Republicans with 143 seats. Compared to 2022, the Front made significant gains both in terms of votes in the first round and in the number of seats compared to NUPES.[40] On 12 July 2024, a group of dissidents from La France Insoumise announced the formation of a new party named L'Après. The party claimed to be "in service of the New Popular Front".[41]

Members

Map of constituencies by the primary party affiliation of New Popular Front candidates

Political parties

Party Abbr. Ideology Political position Leader(s)
La France Insoumise and allies
La France Insoumise[42] LFI Democratic socialism
Left-wing populism
Left-wing to far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon
Manuel Bompard
Left Party[43] PG Democratic socialism
Left-wing populism
Left-wing Éric Coquerel
Danielle Simonnet
Ensemble![44] E! Socialism
Eco-socialism
Left-wing to far-left Collective leadership
Picardie Debout[45] PD Left-wing populism
Economic nationalism
Regionalism
Left-wing François Ruffin
Ecological Revolution for the Living[46] REV Veganism
Deep ecology
Left-wing Aymeric Caron
Independent Workers' Party[47] POI Marxism Left-wing to far-left Collective
Rézistans Égalité 974 RÉ974 Democratic socialism
Regionalism
Left-wing to far-left Jean-Hugues Ratenon
Péyi-A Péyi-A Independentism Centre-left to left-wing Jean-Philippe Nilor
Marcelin Nadeau
Eco-socialist Left[48] GES Eco-socialism Left-wing to far left Collective
Democratic and Social Left[49] GDS Democratic socialism Left-wing Gérard Filoche
For a Popular and Social Ecology[50] PEPS Eco-socialism Far-left Collective
Les Écologistes and allies
The Ecologists[42] LE Green politics
Alter-globalization
Centre-left to left-wing Marine Tondelier
Génération·s[42] G·s Democratic socialism
Eco-socialism
Centre-left to left-wing Benoît Hamon
Alsatian Alternative[51] AA Democratic socialism
Regionalism
Left-wing
Ecology Generation[52] GE Green politics
Eco-feminism
Left-wing Delphine Batho
Ensemble Sur Nos Territoires[53] ET Green politics
Regionalism
Left-wing Ronan Dantec
Heiura-Les Verts[54] Heiura Green politics Left-wing Jacky Bryant
Socialist Party and allies
Socialist Party[42] PS Social democracy
Democratic socialism
Pro-Europeanism
Centre-left to left-wing Olivier Faure
Place Publique[42] PP Social democracy Centre-left Aurore Lalucq
Raphaël Glucksmann
Paris in Common[55] PeC Social democracy
Eco-socialism
Regionalism
Centre-left to left-wing Anne Hidalgo
Progressive Democratic Party of Guadeloupe[56] PPDG Social democracy
Post-Marxism
Centre-left to left-wing Jacques Bangou
Guianese Socialist Party PSG Democratic socialism
Autonomism
Left-wing Marie-Josée Lalsie
Mouvement populaire franciscain MPF Autonomism Left-wing Maurice Antiste
Martinican Progressive Party PPM Democratic socialism
Autonomism
Left-wing Didier Laguerre
Build the Martinique Country[57] BPM Post-Marxism
Left-wing nationalism
Left-wing Pierre Samot
Le Progrès LP Social democracy
Regionalism
Centre-left Patrick Lebreton
French Communist Party and allies
French Communist Party[42] PCF Communism Left-wing to far-left Fabien Roussel
Humains et dignes[58] HeD Democratic socialism Left-wing Muriel Ressiguier
Republican and Socialist Left[42] GRS Socialism Left-wing Emmanuel Maurel
The Radicals of the Left[59] LRDG Radicalism Centre-left Stéphane Saint-André
Isabelle Amaglio-Térisse
L'Engagement[60] L'E Socialism Centre-left to left-wing Arnaud Montebourg
Citizen and Republican Movement[42] MRC Left-wing Gaullism
Sovereigntism
Left-wing Jean-Luc Laurent
Republic and Socialism[61] ReS Left-wing Gaullism
Sovereigntism
Left-wing Lucien Jallamion
For Réunion[62] PLR Democratic socialism
Post-Marxism
Regionalism
Left-wing Huguette Bello
Tāvini Huiraʻatira[63] TH Left-wing nationalism
Independentism
Centre-left to left-wing Oscar Temaru
Martinican Communist Party[64] MCP Communism
Autonomism
Far-left Georges Erichot
Communist Party of Réunion[65] PCR Communism
Regionalism
Far-left Élie Hoarau
Decolonization and Social Emancipation Movement MDES Marxism
Left-wing nationalism
Far-left Fabien Canavy
Guadeloupe Communist Party PCG Communism
Autonomism
Far-left Alain-Félix Flémin
Martinican Independence Movement MIM Left-wing nationalism
Decolonization
Left-wing Alfred Marie-Jeanne
Martinican Democratic Rally[66] RDM Social democracy
Autonomism
Left-wing Claude Lise
Others
New Anticapitalist Party – The Anticapitalist[67] NPA–B Socialism
Anti-capitalism
Far-left Collective leadership
New Deal[68] ND Progressivism Centre-left to left-wing Arnaud Lelache
Aline Mouquet
Movement of Progressives[69] MdP Progressivism Centre-left to left-wing François Béchieau
Allons enfants[68] AE Social liberalism Centre-left Félix David-Rivière
Pirate Party[70] PP Pirate politics
Civil libertarianism
Syncretic Collective leadership
Walwari[71] Democratic socialism
Social democracy
Autonomism
Centre-left to left-wing Christiane Taubira
Breton Democratic Union[72] UDB Breton nationalism
Left-wing nationalism
Left-wing Tifenn Siret
Pierre-Emmanuel Marais
Euskal Herria Bai[73] EHBai Abertzale left Left-wing
Inseme a Manca[74] IaM Socialism
Eco-socialism
Left-wing
Ghjuventù di Manca[74] GdM Green politics
Social justice
Left-wing
A Manca[74] AM Left-wing nationalism
Corsican autonomism
Far-left
Union pour la Sécurité de Mayotte[75] USM Regionalism Left-wing
Ecologia Sulidaria[74] ES Green politics Left-wing

Trade unions

Union Confederation Abbr. Leader(s)
General Confederation of Labour[76] CGT Sophie Binet
French Democratic Confederation of Labour[76] CFDT Marylise Leon [fr]
National Union of Autonomous Trade Unions[76] UNSA Laurent Escure
Fédération Syndicale Unitaire[76] FSU Benoît Teste
Union syndicale Solidaires[76] SUD Julie Ferrua and Murielle Guilbert

Organizations

Organization Abbr. Ideology Political position Leader(s)
Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Citizens' Action[77] ATTAC Alter-globalization
Tobin tax
Left-wing Collective leadership
Jeune Garde Antifasciste[78] JGA Anti-fascism Far-left Collective leadership
Association Démocratie Écologie Solidarité[79] ADES Eco-socialism Left-wing Collective leadership
Révolution[80] Trotskyism Far-left Collective leadership

External support

Party Abbr. Ideology Political position Leader(s)
Radical Party of the Left[81] PRG Social liberalism
Radicalism
Centre-left Guillaume Lacroix
Citizenship, Action, Participation for the 21st Century[82] Cap21 Green liberalism Centre Corinne Lepage

Election results

National Assembly

National Assembly
Election year Leader First round Second round Seats Role in government
Votes % Votes %
2024 Collective leadership 9,042,485 28.21% 7,040,198 25.81%
180 / 577
TBD

Political platform

The Front is described as a broad left-wing alliance,[2] with centre-left and far-left factions.[3] On 14 June, the left-wing party leaders met at a conference centre near the National Assembly to explain in greater detail the 150 measures of Front's political platform, and contains some changes from the 2022 NUPES programme.[10] While the Front has been referred to as far-left by its critics, including Macron and the far-right, its political programme is described by scholars as left-wing.[83][c] Le Monde summarized the Front's political platform as being to the left of Raphaël Glucksmann and to the right of La France Insoumise, with a programme that included left-wing positions on economic and social issues that are shared by all parties but also foreign policy proposals closer to the centre-left and the Socialist Party.[91][92]

The Front's plan is divided into three phases:[10]

  1. The first fifteen days of the Front's government would see a slate of emergency measures, including an increase in after-tax minimum wage to €1,600 per month, price freezes on necessities and energy bills, investment in social housing, and a rejection of deficit spending rules.
  2. The first 100 days would lay the groundwork for proposed changes through five legislative packages covering purchasing power, education, healthcare, ecological planning, and the "abolition of billionaire privileges".
  3. The months beyond, or transformations, which would foresee the sustainable reinforcement of public services, the right to housing, green reindustrialization, police and criminal justice reforms, and constitutional changes leading to the founding of a French Sixth Republic.

Constitutional policy

The Front pledged to abolish Article 49.3 of the French Constitution that allows governments to force legislation through the National Assembly without a vote. The Front also pledged to introduce proportional representation for elections in France, such as the National Assembly, and to organise a constituent assembly to prepare a new Constitution of France, moving from the French Fifth Republic to a Sixth Republic.[93]

Economic policy

The Front supports a retirement age of 60 and the repeal of the controversial 2023 French pension reform law and reverse the unpopular reform of unemployment benefits pushed by Macron's government.[8] The Front also supports introduction of menstrual leave,[94] and a 14 percent increase in the minimum wage, adjusting salaries and pensions with the inflation rate and freezing food and energy prices to boost the purchasing power of its citizens.[8] Additionally, the Front would re-introduce the solidarity tax on wealth that had been abolished in 2017 by Macron's government, as well as introduce a new tax on excess profits, and raising the Generalized Social Contribution paid by the richest taxpayers.[95] In contrast to the criticized economic policies of the National Rally even as Marine Le Pen reassured business, the Front described its economic plans as more responsible because its increased spending would be paid for by billions of euros in planned tax rises. Olivier Faure, the Socialist Party leader, said: "We will finance this programme by dipping into the pockets of those who can most afford it."[96]

Education policy

The Front pledged to make school lunches and supplies free.[97] It also pledged to abolish the Parcoursup university admissions system.[98]

Foreign policy

The Front supports Ukraine and its defense against Russian aggression,[8] including military aid, calling upon France and the West to support Ukraine more, while committing against any direct intervention by the French military.[99][100] It also supports cancelling debt and seizing assets in France of Russian oligarchs.[10] Within the framework of a two-state solution, the Front's platform calls for France to recognize the State of Palestine,[94] and enforce an arms embargo against Israel,[101] while it describes the 7 October attacks as terrorist massacres.[8][10] The platform opposes war, antisemitism,[100] Islamophobia,[14] the hostage situation,[8] and Hamas' theocracy.[100]

Immigration

In contrast to the far-right, which proposed to drastically cut immigration, the Front pledged to make the asylum process more generous and smooth,[14] reversing the 2023 immigration law that was considered so right-wing that it was criticized within the presidential camp.[92]

Social policy

The Front pledged to introduce gender self-determination.[102] It also pledged to abolish the General National Service.[98]

Reactions

From the left

Poster of the New Popular Front

On 11 June, Kamel Chibli, a Socialist Party member and the vice president of the Occitanie region, opposed the agreement, accusing it of being a NUPES 2.[103] Former French president François Hollande, who had been an opponent of NUPES and La France Insoumise,[9] announced that he supported the Front,[104] and was later confirmed as a candidate for the alliance in Corrèze's 1st constituency, a seat he had held from 1988 until his election to the presidency in 2012.[105] Raphaël Glucksmann, leader of Place Publique and member of the European Parliament who was initially cautious about supporting the alliance,[106] ultimately announced his support of it on 14 June.[107]

The socialist magazine Jacobin praised the surprising reunion of the left-wing forces after internal competition in the European elections,[10] and analyzed the controversial decision by La France Insoumise to purge certain candidates, which ignited significant internal criticism. Candidates like Alexis Corbière and Raquel Garrido argued for reconciliation with other left-wing forces. Party leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon faced backlash from both members and allies, who said the move was autocratic and damaged party unity. Critics contended that the purge was an attempt to centralize power and stifle dissenting voices within the party. This internal conflict highlighted broader issues within the Front, as the need for unity against the far-right was undermined by such divisive actions, threatening the effectiveness and cohesion of the left-wing alliance.[108]

From centrists and others

French president Emmanuel Macron and its coalition focused on attacking the Front more than the National Rally, hoping to split the vote of the French left.[9][22] Some observers criticized this strategy, calling it confusing and controversial,[109] as France has a long history of Republican fronts and cordon sanitaire, where all democratic political forces try to collaborate to stem the rise of the far-right. According to some critics, by attacking the French left and the Front over the National Rally, Macron was helping the far-right advance rather than opposing it.[22][110] For example, some of Macron's reactions, such as criticism of the Front for advocating a pro-immigration programme, were seen as echoing the far-right's talking points and rhetoric.[111] Macron further criticized some of their proposals, such as allowing trans people to record their gender change on their marital status by visiting the town hall.[110][112]

Former French prime minister Manuel Valls, a former member of the Socialist Party who had joined Renaissance and was an opponent of NUPES in 2022, denounced the agreement.[113] Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of Economics and Finance and member of Renaissance, criticized the practicality of the Front's programme.[114] French prime minister Gabriel Attal, also of Renaissance, called the Front "an agreement of shame".[115] Macron judged the Front's programme to be four-time worse than the National Rally's, saying that there would be "no more laïcité, they will go back on the immigration law, and there are things that are completely grotesque like changing your gender at the town hall."[116]

Volt France, a liberal Eurofederalist party, criticized the agreement, and echoed Glucksmann's call for another front uniting all republican and pro-European forces.[117] Guillaume Lacroix, the leader of the Radical Party of the Left, announced that while his party was not part of the agreement,[118] they would support "left-wing [candidates] who share its republican, secular and universalist values as well as all Republican candidates capable of beating the [National Rally]."[119] Cap21 proposed uniting the left, centre and ecologists.[82] Unser Land, which is a member of Régions et Peuples Solidaires along with the Breton Democratic Union and Euskal Herria Bai, announced an independent candidacy, saying that only their candidates support "an autonomous Alsace in a federal France" and that "Macron is a Jacobin, Le Pen and Mélenchon even more so".[120]

Notes

  1. ^ The Ministry of the Interior refers to the Front's candidates as the Union of the Left (French: Union de la Gauche).[1]
  2. ^ The Ministry of the Interior refers to the Front's candidates as the Union of the Left (French: Union de la Gauche).[1] Other names used for the New Popular Front include the abbreviated form of Popular Front (French: Front populaire, FP).[4]
  3. ^ During the electoral campaign, both the presidential camp and the far right described the Front as far left, owing it to La France Insoumise and now applying it to the Front as a whole.[84][85][86] There is no clear consensus among scholars on the far-left and its definition,[87] with some scholars using different definitions but agreeing that there are differences and pluralism within it. According to political science researcher Christine Pina, what distinguishes the mainstream left from the far-left (where despite the oppositions and differences in militant cultures between Trotskyists, Maoists, and libertarian socialists or anarchists, they all share three common denominators that distinguish them from the mainstream left) is that the far-left proposes a sort of maximum programme.[83] In the words of historian Aurélien Dubuisson (associate researcher at The Sciences Po Centre for History and author of The Far Left in France published by the Blaise Pascal University Press) and sociologist Paolo Stuppia (member of the European Centre for Sociology and Political Science), "[w]hile admitting immediate and transitory requests such as that of a better sharing of added value for the benefit of employees, the 'far-left' defends above all a maximalist programme in which the abolition of the capitalist model (today we also speak of fossil capital) occupies a central place. ... However, none on the left, including La France Insoumise, despite its radical criticisms of economic neoliberalism, defends such a process which would consist in a transformation of positive law to organise, even gradually, the disappearance of capitalist exploitation and the competition paradigm".[83] According to Dubuisson, this is "a mistake that has been made in recent years, especially by the right wing of the political spectrum". Dubuisson cites Mitterrand's programme from 1981, which he said would be considered "the worst extremist of the moment. But in 1981, the political context was different, it was permeated by left-wing themes."[88] According to Dubuisson and political scientist Rémi Lefebvre, it is no more radical than Mitterand's.[89] Similarly, in the words of political scientist Christopher Bickerton, the Front's programme echoes the "old Keynesian strategy of boosting aggregate demand through government spending" of Mitterrand's programme of 1981.[90]

References

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