French Greens and far-left leader Melenchon reach deal ahead of parliamentary elections

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LFI, the movement of far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, has reached an agreement with France‘s green party EELV, politicians on both sides said on Monday, as the left seeks to form a common front against President Emmanuel Macron in the next legislative elections.

“Historic moment. The agreement between LFI and EELV is concluded,” said lawmaker Adrien Quatennens, one of LFI’s campaign coordinators.

Manon Aubry, LFI member of the European Parliament, also told France Info radio: “It’s a popular union around a common program … to govern together, because that’s the goal.”

Opposition parties on the left and right of the French political spectrum are trying to form alliances to beat Macron’s La République en Marche party in the June parliamentary vote.

French media reported on Monday that EELV on Sunday approved a text detailing the agreement with LFI, calling it a “new popular ecology and social union”.

The move comes after Melenchon, who came third in April’s presidential elections and narrowly missed the second round behind far-right populist Marine Le Pen, called on all left-wing parties to join his movement to “elect him Prime Minister”. .

The LFI-EELV agreement includes targets for lowering the retirement age to 60, raising the minimum wage and capping the prices of essential products, Manon Aubry said, adding that agreements with other other left parties would follow.

Manuel Bompard, spokesman for Melenchon’s campaign, told France Inter radio on Monday that talks with the other parties would continue “in the coming hours”.

During the May Day protests on Sunday, Melenchon was also spotted hugging Olivier Faure, the leader of France’s Socialist Party, in a sign of potential unity after talks between LFI and the Socialists stalled last week.

Melenchon, himself once a member of the Socialists before quitting the party in a spat over his stance on the European Union, has sparked a long-running feud within the left. The Socialists are more pro-EU than him.

LFI and EELV said in a joint statement that they both wanted to put an end to the “neoliberal” course of the EU and instead aim for “a new project at the service of ecological and social construction”.

According to the first opinion polls ahead of the June legislative elections, a left-wing alliance would not win a majority against the bloc that supports Macron.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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