Sunday, June 9th, 9pm. On election nights for left-wing and environmental parties, while some celebrate or lament their results, Emmanuel Macron speaks. Faced with the poor results of his field, the president announces the dissolution of the National Assembly. After the initial shock, the cell phones of socialist, communist, rebel and environmentalist leaders begin to vibrate. The formation of the New Popular Front begins.

It is after 11pm when Jean-Luc Mélenchon makes his second speech at the Rotonde in Stalingrad, where the unruly people are watching the election night. The leader of Unsubmissive France (LFI) is angry with those who, in his view, sabotaged a possible victory for the left in the European elections by refusing to unite. He quips to the laughter of his supporters: “The phones are already buzzing, there is a certain return to reality for the evil tongues that suddenly reconsider the atrocities they said.”

At around 4 pm, the unruly delegation arrives: the coordinator of the movement Manuel Bompard, the person responsible for the program Clémence Guetté, the person responsible for elections Paul Vannier, the head of LFI deputies Mathilde Panot and the person responsible for relations between parties Aurélie Trouvé. At 7pm, two cars arrive at Rue des Petits-Hôtels, from where the first secretary of the PS Olivier Faure, his number 2 Johanna Rolland, the person in charge of constituencies Pierre Jouvet and the co-president of the Place Publique, Aurore Lalucq, emerge.

At 11am on Thursday, Fabien Roussel is in his car, heading home to Saint Amand les Eaux in the North. His phone rings, the socialists left the negotiating table. He needs to turn around. At the PS office in Ivry-sur-Seine, the faces are serious, they warn the federations that they need to prepare to present candidates in the 577 constituencies. “Red alert”: the message appears on the cell phones of several journalists. Olivier Faure and his team of negotiators are furious: the rebels and environmentalists have reserved most of the eligible constituencies. The objective of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s troops is clear: to guarantee a group of deputies greater than the total of other formations to have a hand in the designation of a possible Prime Minister.

The press release is released a little after 8pm, before former socialist president François Hollande speaks on TF1. “A huge expectation of union has manifested, it is sealed!” enthusiastic statement. “The New Popular Front was born”, cries another.

Author: Aurélien Devernoix
Publication date: 06/15/2024


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