France’s leftist alliance leaders vow to ‘extinguish the flame’ of far right in upcoming elections

PARIS — Leaders of France’s left-wing parties, allied in a new coalition known as the New Popular Front, outlined their plan on Friday to prevent the surging far right from taking power at upcoming snap national parliamentary elections.

While differences between them remain, the leaders of the usually fractious French left-wing parties emphasized that all of them had compromised during four days of negotiations and aligned their views on issues such as the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict to prevent a victory by Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party which could result in the French far right leading a government for the first time since World War II.

The far right is “at the door of power,” leaders of the New Popular Front warned at a news conference. They urged supporters to mobilize rather than despair, show up and cast their ballots, instead of staying behind, resigned that the outcome of the “historic election” had already been determined in favor of the far-right party with a history of racism and xenophobia.

“We are going to extinguish the flame of the National Rally,” said Marine Tondelier, the national secretary of the Ecologists party. “It’s either us or them.”

The election is to take place in two rounds on June 30 and July 7.

In addition to the environmentalist parties, the New Popular Front alliance, named after a similar coalition formed in the 1930s against the rise of fascism in France, also includes the French Socialists and Communists and the hard-left France Unbowed party of Jean-Luc Melanchon, who has been accused of an antisemitic stance in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

If elected, they promised to repeal the controversial reform of unemployment benefits pushed by Macron’s government and reverse his deeply unpopular pension reform law that raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. They also vowed to raise the minimum wage and adjust salaries and pensions with the inflation rate.

The leaders of the alliance’s four main parties emphasized that there was no place for antisemitism within their ranks. On the sensitive subject of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, they said they have agreed to condemn the Oct. 7 deadly Hamas-led incursion into southern Israel as “terrorist massacres” and demanded the release of all hostages held by the group in Gaza.

They also promised unwavering support for Ukraine and its defense against Russian aggression, although they vowed that no French troops would ever be sent to Ukraine to help its fight.


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