"A new breath for the Nupes!": the title of this conference, organized Saturday, August 26 at the summer university of La France insoumise (LFI), in Châteauneuf-sur-Isère, is deliberately optimistic. All the Nupes will be represented: in addition to Aurélie Trouvé for LFI, Sandrine Rousseau for Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV), Jérôme Guedj for the Socialist Party (PS), Elsa Faucillon for the Communist Party (PCF) and Benjamin Lucas for Génération.s. The five deputies will debate the future of the left-wing coalition born in the aftermath of the 2022 presidential election and which allowed the election of 151 deputies to the National Assembly.
And if each party composing the New Ecological and Social Popular Union (Nupes), on the occasion of its political return, took care to invite, like La France insoumise, representatives of its partners, it is the disunity that threatens the Nupes.
The socialists in Blois, the ecologists in Le Havre, the communists in Strasbourg and the rebels near Valence: each launches on his side, but at the same time, this new political year after a summer marked by new tensions, including an exchange of invectives on X (ex-Twitter) between the former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the boss of the PS Olivier Faure.
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The latter, who was commenting on Nicolas Sarkozy's support for Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, posted on August 17: "The hostilities on the right have only just begun. It is up to the left and the ecologists not to fall into the death spiral of division."
"Incorrigible doublespeak! Make the union by dividing in the senatorial and European elections?" replied Jean-Luc Mélenchon, before Olivier Faure reacted in turn. "Dear JLM, I always have the same phone and recently sent you a message inviting you to exchange. See you if you want. One can not share the same analyses without needing to shout at each other on Twitter, much to the delight of the right and the despair of the left."
Dear JLM, I always have the same phone and recently sent you a message inviting you to exchange. See you if you want. One can not share the same analyses without needing to shouting at each other on Twitter, to the delight of the right and the despair of the left. https://t.co/hMDLjns9h6
— Olivier Faure (@faureolivier) August 17, 2023
"Olivier Faure, I do not invective you, unlike your friends who have expelled us from the lists in the senatorial elections and are preparing to do the same in the European and municipal elections. If you want to come back to these sectarian choices, contact the leaders of the FI: Bompard, Panot, Aubry. Me, I give my opinion," continued the leader "withdrawn but not retired" of La France insoumise.
Accusation of "doublespeak"
Socialists, communists and ecologists have reached a partial agreement in several departments in view of the senatorial elections on 24th September, without including the rebels, who currently have no senator.
And while LFI has been advocating for many months for a single list of the Nupes in the European elections in 2024, its partners prefer to stand separately. The ecologists and communists have already presented their future lead candidate, while the socialists will vote at the end of September to approve an autonomous list.
"My feeling is that there is a double language among our allies, with unitary speeches but actions that are not. At the moment when they talk about union, the same people knowingly organize disunity," LFI coordinator Manuel Bompard said in an interview with Libération published on 20 August, arguing that all polls indicate that a single list of the left would come out ahead in the European elections.
🇪🇺 82% of NUPES voters are in favour of a common list in the European elections.
This list is able to win the European elections. pic.twitter.com/BsuZ1G25Mg
— Manuel Bompard (@mbompard) August 24, 2023
Greens, socialists and communists argue that the differences over Europe between allies of the Nupes are too important to make a common list and that polls also show that separate lists would allow, if not to get ahead of the National Rally and Renaissance, to win more seats of MEPs.
To these differences of opinion, the controversy about the rapper Medina has come to highlight the tensions and divisions that have undermined the gathering of the left for months. Invited to the summer universities of Europe Ecology-The Greens, Thursday, and La France insoumise, Saturday, the rapper triggered a controversy by responding with a tweet deemed anti-Semitic to personal attacks by the essayist Rachel Khan, Jewish and granddaughter of deportees described as "resKHANpée".
The ecologist party was divided on the opportunity to welcome and debate with Medina, when Jean-Luc Mélenchon set the tone on the LFI side, judging that "Medina is not racist" and that the Greens are "subject to what will be said about the hypocrites", while Manuel Bompard denounced ecologists who "yield to a campaign orchestrated by the far right and taken up by Macronia".
"The ridge path to win in 2027 exists"
Dissonances are not new to La Nupes. The rebellious strategy of obstruction in the battle for pensions in the National Assembly had been criticized by LFI's partners, as had the refusal, starting with that of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, to call for calm during the urban riots that followed Nahel's death.
The divide over the police has not been resolved. LFI and EELV organize on September 23 a march "against police violence" and the law nicknamed by the rebels "license to kill" granted to police officers in 2017 by Socialist Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. Neither the PS nor the PCF wished to associate themselves with this demonstration.
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However, the leaders of the Nupes parties ensure that the union will survive the current tensions and that the objective of a common candidate of the left in the presidential election 2027 remains topical.
Olivier Faure promises, in an interview published Thursday in Libération, to do "everything in (s)on power to maintain the course of the rally of the left and ecologists". "This is an imperative if we want to govern tomorrow. The gathering for 2027 is not an option but an obligation," he said.
🗣️ Union is a culture that we have a duty to adopt and develop.
It presupposes cooperative actions and guidelines that we are committed to cultivating.
The day after the European elections, we want to propose to the French 4 projects 🧶⤵️ pic.twitter.com/48WiDyRdQF
— Marine Tondelier (@marinetondelier) August 24, 2023
"The joint work we are carrying out is a precious good," declared the same day the boss of the Greens, Marine Tondelier, at the opening of the days of EELV in Le Havre, believing that "the ridge path to win in 2027 exists", provided to "strengthen" the coalition of left-wing parties.
Future parliamentary battles against the government, notably over the 2024 budget or the future Immigration Act, should contribute to this. A back-to-school seminar for Nupes deputies is also scheduled for September 18 in Ivry-sur-Seine, in the Val-de-Marne.
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