Despite the creation of the NUPES leftwing alliance ahead of the legislative elections in 2022, the French Left is still mired in a crisis of faith. Beset by fragmentation and having declined to form a new democratic structure, none of the political parties and movements that just eight months ago formed the Nouvelle Union Populaire Écologique et Sociale now seems willing to press ahead with a joint reconstruction of the Left. Yet such a move is essential, argues Mediapart's co-editorial director Stéphane Alliès in this op-ed article.
After environmentalists protested over plans by farmers in western France to build a large irrigation reservoir, interior minister Gérald Darmanin likened some of the demonstrators to “ecoterrorists”. In doing so, say Mathieu Dejean and Fabien Escalona in this op-ed article, the minister was spouting paranoid fantasies while ignoring warnings about whether the planet can remain habitable. At the same time, they write, the country's main green party – which should be setting the political agenda - remains bogged down in internal squabbles.
Sandrine Rousseau, a Member of Parliament with France's EELV Green party and a self-declared “eco-feminist”, prompted criticism from the Right when, arguing for less meat consumption, she said that the country had 'to change mentality so that eating steak cooked on a barbecue is not a symbol of virility'.
As the 2022 presidential election edges closer there are signs that the swathe of young people who have become radicalised over the climate in France since 2018 are now starting to take a closer interest in politics and the need to vote. But as Mathieu Dejean explains in this analysis, the fragmentation on the Left ahead of next April's poll leaves many young 'climate generation' voters distinctly unimpressed.
Various factions on the Left are already focussing on the Parliamentary elections in June 2022, in apparent acceptance that they are unlikely to perform well at the presidential election that takes place two months earlier. Opinion polls currently suggest that the battle to be the next French head of state in April 2022 will primarily be between the incumbent president Emmanuel Macron, the far-right and, just possibly, the traditional Right. The subsequent Parliamentary elections, to be held over two rounds on June 12th and June 19th, will meanwhile determine the political influence of the various parties on the Left in the National Assembly. Mathieu Dejean and Pauline Graulle report on the potential horse-trading among the Left ahead of those legislative elections and the impact this may have, too, on the race for the presidency itself.
Mediapart and French radio station France Inter have received five new accounts of lewd behaviour, including sexual assault and harassment, allegedly perpetrated by French MP Denis Baupin, husband of French housing minister Emmanuelle Cosse. Baupin was forced to stand down as speaker of the French parliament earlier this month after Mediapart published interviews with eight women, including an MP and Green party spokeswomen, who said they had suffered assault and harassment by him. The new accounts given here cover a 16-year period during which Baupin was deputy-mayor of Paris and a leading official with the French green party. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
French Member of Parliament Denis Baupin on Monday resigned from his role as deputy speaker of the lower house, the National Assembly, just hours after the publication of an investigation by Mediapart and France Inter radio in which several female colleagues, including a fellow MP, allege they were sexually harassed by him. Baupin, 53, who is married to housing minister Emmanuelle Coste, last month resigned from the EELV Green party to which all of his accusers belonged at the time of the alleged events. He denies the accusations, which include physical groping and other lewd behaviour and repeatedly sending sexually explicit phone text messages. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
In the middle of a socialist heartland of north-east France, a Green party mayor is leading an audacious and lonely project to revitalise his former coal-mining town, where unemployment runs above the national average, with the creation of ecology-focussed companies and research centres, and the ecodesign renovation of its private and public buildings. But this isolated development programme, and its promise of future job creations, is a slow and far from complete process which faces a stern test in municipal elections to be held later this month, when the far-right Front National party is forecast to make significant gains. Jade Lindgaard reports from Loos-en-Gohelle.
Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has sought to calm the major controversy surrounding plans for a new airport near his home city of Nantes by calling for “dialogue”. But at the same time the forces of law and order led a major operation against protesters at the planned airport site, leaving up to 100 people injured. Jade Lindgaard charts the latest developments in a bitter saga that is proving damaging both to the government's relations with its green allies and its reputation on environment issues.