Home Europe Left Bloc Heads For Shock Win In France. Here’s Some Key Leaders

Left Bloc Heads For Shock Win In France. Here’s Some Key Leaders

If initial projections --usually accurate-- are confirmed, President Macron might have to name a prime minister from the New Popular Front, a Left alliance cobbled together after the snap election was announced
France leftists set for shock win in snap polls
Supporters of French far-left opposition party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed - LFI) and the alliance of left-wing parties, called the "Nouveau Front Populaire" (New Popular Front - NFP), react after partial results in the second round of the early French parliamentary elections, at Place Stalingrad in Paris, France, July 7, 2024. (Yara Nardi/REUTERS)

The left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) in France, an alliance of parties hastily assembled after President Emmanuel Macron called a surprise snap parliamentary election, looked set to score a shock win in Sunday’s vote over the far right and the ruling centrists.

If initial projections are confirmed, Macron will be required to name a prime minister from the bloc. The initial estimates are typically accurate.

The NFP – made up of the Communist Party, the hard left France Unbowed, the Green party and the Socialist Party – has not said who would be its pick for prime minister. The following are some of its best-known figures:

Jean-Luc Melenchon, Hard Left France Unbowed Party: Jean-Luc Melenchon, 72, has been a fixture in French left-wing politics for decades and held ministerial posts in past governments, when he was a member of the Socialist Party. He ran for president in 2012, 2017 and 2022, improving his score each time. He came third in 2022, just behind far-right leader Marine Le Pen. Macron won that election.

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A fiery orator, Melenchon is one of the most divisive figures in French politics, enthusing some voters while horrifying others with his unbridled tax-and-spend proposals, class war rhetoric and controversial foreign policy positions, especially on Gaza. Critics accuse him of antisemitism, which he denies.

Marine Tondelier, Leader Of The Greens: Tondelier, 37, grew up in Henin-Beaumont, a town in northern France that is well-known as a bastion of the far-right National Rally (RN) and its leader Le Pen. Tondelier has a long record of opposing the RN.

She was elected as an opposition member of the town’s municipal council in 2014. She documented her experiences working under an RN mayor and what she described as the oppressive atmosphere generated by the far-right administration in a 2017 book entitled “News from the Front”. Tondelier was also elected to a northern regional council in 2021, and she became leader of France’s best-known ecologist party, the Greens, the following year.

Raphael Glucksmann, Socialist Party: Raphael Glucksmann, 44, headed the Socialist list of candidates in the European elections in early June. It obtained nearly 14% of the vote, just behind Macron’s Together group. This was considered a sign of revival for a party that governed France in past decades but had recently fallen into electoral oblivion.

Glucksmann attended prestigious schools and had a career in journalism and broadcasting before branching out in a variety of directions, including being an adviser to then Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. He advocates strong European support for Ukraine in its resistance against Russia’s invasion.

Laurent Berger, Former CFDT Trade Union Leader: Laurent Berger, 55, is a former head of one of France’s main trade unions, the moderate CFDT. He has a track record of strong opposition to the RN.

Berger has said he does not want to be prime minister, but others on the left have put his name forward, saying he could be a unifying figure and a popular alternative to Melenchon.

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