Hard left strikes deal with French Greens ahead of legislative elections

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France Unbowed (LFI), the movement of far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has struck a deal with France's green EELV party, as the left seeks to form a joint front against President Emmanuel Macron in upcoming parliamentary elections.

"Historic moment. The deal between LFI and EELV is done," said lawmaker Adrien Quatennens, one of LFI's campaign coordinators.

Manon Aubry, an LFI member of the EU parliament, also told France Info radio: "This is a popular union around a joint programme ... to govern together, because this is the aim."

Opposition parties on the left and right of France's political spectrum are trying to form alliances to beat Macron's La Republique en March party in the June parliamentary vote.

EELV approved a text detailing the deal with LFI on Sunday, calling it the "new popular ecology and social union".

The move comes after Mélenchon, who came in third in April's presidential elections and barely missed the runoff behind far-right Marine Le Pen, called on all left-leaning parties to join forces with his movement to "elect (him) prime minister".

Talks with Socialists

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

Manuel Bompard, a spokesman for Mélenchon's campaign, told France Inter radio on Monday that talk with other parties would continue "in the coming hours".

During May Day marches on Sunday, Mélenchon was also spotted hugging Olivier Faure, the head of France's Socialist Party, a sign of potential unity after talks between LFI and the Socialists stalled last week.

Former Socialist president François Hollande has ruled out his own involvement in any coalition deal.

Mélenchon, himself once a member of the Socialists before leaving the party in a spat over its stance on the European Union, has caused a long-lasting feud inside the left. The Socialists are more pro-EU than he is.

LFI and EELV said in a joint statement that both wanted to put an end to the "neoliberal" course of the EU and would instead aim "for a new project serving ecological and social construction".

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

(with Reuters)

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