The Left-Wing Coalition in the French Parliamentary Elections

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In the second round of the elections held on April 24, 2022, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as President of France with 58.5% of the votes. But Macron’s win is a bittersweet victory for the left in the country. Because, in the second round of the election, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen was against Macron, so the French left had to vote for Macron in a way that Le Pen would not be elected. In other words, French citizens voted for Macron to prevent the far-right from winning. In fact, Macron has shown that he is aware of this by saying “Many of our compatriots voted for me not out of support for my ideas but to block those of the far right.” [1] in his post-election speech.

Although Macron won the election, he will still need the support of a majority of lawmakers to implement a pro-business and pro-European Union (EU) legislative agenda, including a plan to increase the retirement age. Therefore, in the parliamentary elections to be held on 12 and 19 June 2022, the left opposition parties started to negotiate the topic of acting together in the hope of controlling the parliament and thus hindering Macron’s reforms. At the end of these negotiations, on May 4, 2022, the Greens (Europe Écologie-Les Verts/EELV), the French Communist Party (PCF) and the Socialist Party signed an agreement with Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise Party (France Unbowed/LFI).[2] Thus, the left formed a coalition for the parliamentary elections under the name of Nouvelle Union Populaire écologique et sociale (NUPES).

Macron made promises in his election campaign that he would implement more tax cuts, social security reforms and policies to address environmental concerns in the next five years. The biggest danger facing Macron, who needs a majority in the parliament in order to fulfill all these promises, is the coalition formed by the left parties. The ultimate goal of this alliance, which is the first time in 25 years that the French left has come together since 1997, is to gain a majority in the parliament and thus to disrupt Macron’s reform program.[3] Aiming to take 290 out of 577 seats, the left coalition plans to make it difficult for Macron and make him choose a Prime Minister from another party with the said move.

If the left coalition wins the majority in the parliamentary elections as it aims, a situation that took place in 1997 will emerge again and a tense period of “cohabitation” will begin, in which the President’s powers are severely restricted. The four-party coalition plans to enter the next election under the leadership of Jean-Luc Mélenchon and make Mélenchon Prime Minister.[4] However, although the components of the alliance agree that Mélenchon should become Prime Minister if he wins a legislative majority, it is premature to say that the agreement signed for the coalition will turn into a working agreement on the point of a coalition government. The fact that the four left-wing parties did not publish a joint statement on the coalition they agreed on also confirms this.

In addition, there is a serious disagreement between the Socialist Party and LFI within the coalition regarding EU policies. Mélenchon, a former Trotskyist, is an anti-EU politician.[5] The Socialist Party, on the other hand, has a pro-EU stance. Therefore, the idea of deliberately neglecting the EU’s budget agreements to fit the coalition’s agenda has sparked debate throughout the negotiations on the alliance.

The debates in question also created differences of opinion within the Socialist Party, and as a result, some members of the party resigned. Although the left parties have come together for a common goal, it is possible that the differences of opinion within the coalition may create some problems.

Despite all these setbacks within the coalition, there are serious obstacles to Macron’s implementation of his policies, which are not supported by the broad masses of the people. NUPES is at the forefront of these obstacles. Considering the attitude of left voters[6]  towards Macron before the election on April 24, 2022, it is possible that NUPES will get more seats than expected by getting a high percentage of votes in the parliamentary elections. However, it should be noted that; the coalition, which currently has 60 seats in parliament, is unlikely to gain 290 seats. In addition, as it’s often seen in the past elections of France, the party that elects the President also gains the majority in the parliament. Therefore, it is highly likely that Macron’s party will win the parliamentary majority.[7]

Although the problems that Macron may face during his second presidency of five years include social security reform, health sector reform and environmental problems, the most important problem is the crisis of living costs. In fact, Macron, who plans a business-oriented policy, proposes pro-EU policies to get France out of the economic crisis, unlike the coalition. The most important trump card of NUPES will be the criticism they will bring to the EU economy and budget agreements.

In addition, as can be seen from the reactions of senior French ministers, Macron sees the coalition of left parties as a serious danger.[8] NUPES’ anti-EU agenda is described by government officials as “harmful”. Undoubtedly, a development such as ignoring the agreements with the EU will endanger the unity of the union. Therefore, the elections will also shape the future of the EU.

As a result, the coalition of the left parties, established on May 4, 2022, created an important front in the next parliamentary elections to disrupt and even prevent the policies and reforms that Macron wants to implement during his 5-year presidency. In this sense, there are two fundamental elements that will ensure the success of NUPES. The first of these is the attitude of the French voters towards Macron. The other one is the will of the coalition parties. It should also be noted that; whatever the outcome of those elections, the winner will be Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Because the election process will make him the new leader of the French left.

[1] “Macron Re-Elected as French Voters Hold off Le Pen’s far Right Once More”, France 24,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[2] “French Left Strikes Deal on Broad Alliance to take on Macron in Parliamentary Polls”, France 24,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[3] “New French Left-Wing Pact’s Leader Targets 50% of Parliamentary Seats”, Reuters,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[4] “France: Socialist Party Joins Leftist Coalition Against President Emmanuel Macron”, DW,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[5] “Presidential Candidate Mélenchon Ready to push for EU Treaty Reform”, Euroactiv,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[6] “France’s Left Could be Decisive in Who Wins the Election. But Will They Turn out to Vote?”, Euronews,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[7] “Le Pen, Mélenchon Want ‘Third Round’ Win-But Macron Favoured to win Parliamentary Majority “, France 24,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

[8] “Top French Minister Blasts Left-Wing Coalition’s Plan to ‘Disobey’ EU Rules”, Politico,, (Date of Accession: 16.05.2022).

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