Emmanuel Macron and Jean Luc Mélenchon. Many candidates from Mélenchon’s party within the New Popular Front have withdrawn their candidacies in order to favour Macron’s candidates in a run-off against Le Pen’s National Rally.

On Sunday, the first round of the French legislative elections was won by the far right, paving the way for an unprecedented second round marked in particular by the 306 seats contested by three political forces.

This situation occurs because to win in the first round, a candidate for the National Assembly must obtain an absolute majority (more than 50% of the votes). That is to say, in all the constituencies where there was no winner, all the candidates who obtained more than 12.5% ​​of the votes went on to the second round on July 7. This means that in many cases the second round is not contested between just two candidates but between three or four.

In this context, the New Popular Front (which brings together the Ecologists, La France Insoumise, the French Communist Party, the Socialist Party, among others) and Juntos, the list supported by President Emmanuel Macron, have called for their candidates to be withdrawn during the second round so that votes can be concentrated on the candidate with the greatest chance of preventing Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, National Rally (RN), from gaining more seats.

This policy of a “republican front” against the extreme right could translate into a call from the centre-left and sectors of the left to vote for a “lesser evil” that ends up helping to strengthen figures widely rejected by the government.

The attempt to “block” the far right began to manifest itself on Monday with the announcement of a series of withdrawals, mainly by candidates from the New Popular Front (and in particular by the candidates of Jean Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise). According to a count by the daily Le Monde, by midday on Tuesday 195 candidates, who had come third in the first round, had given up their candidacy for the second round. Of this total, 127 belong to the New Popular Front.

This includes constituencies where the withdrawal of candidates from the New Popular Front clears the way for the second round for candidates from the worst of Macron’s coalition, such as his former prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, or Macron’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin.

In other words, under the pretext of “blocking” the far right, they are encouraging the vote for Borne, who was the architect of the pension reform, numerous offensives against the unemployed, or even the repression of working-class neighbourhoods after the murder of the young Nahel at the hands of the police, and of applying article 49.3 (decree) in numerous anti-worker policies. In the case of the Minister of the Interior, Darmanin, it is a matter of encouraging the vote for a candidate who applied racist and anti-social policies, often inspired by proposals from the far right. Last December, Marine Le Pen hailed an “ideological victory” after the vote on the immigration law approved by the minister.

In the name of the fight against the extreme right, this policy of class conciliation helps to rehabilitate several officials and figures of the Macronist government who were architects of the worst anti-worker, authoritarian and racist policies.

The far right was quick to seize the opportunity of the withdrawal of candidates, denouncing on social media that “Mélenchon is withdrawing his candidate in favour of Borne and supporting Madame 49.3 to beat RN!”. For his part, RN president Jordan Bardella said on TF1 that “we are witnessing an unnatural alliance between Mr Macron and Mr Mélenchon”.
This dangerous logic of conciliation by the New Popular Front leaves the door open for the extreme right to discredit the left and present it as an ally of Macron.

By rehabilitating candidates who, as officials of Macron’s government, perpetrated violent attacks against workers, in order to “block” the far right, the New Popular Front can only lead to the strengthening of the parties responsible for the worst racist and neoliberal attacks, and be the springboard for an alliance with Macron… to the benefit of the far right.

While the first round of the legislative elections has once again revealed the depth of the discredit of the Macron government among workers, the logic of the “republican front” with those who are committed to the exploitation and oppression of workers is a dead end. Against this logic, it is urgent to defend a policy independent of the regime, which allows for the construction of a response from below, without compromising with the parties that serve the ruling classes.

Source: www.laizquierdadiario.com

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