The French left unites against Macron

By agreeing not to field candidates against each other in the 577 legislative constituencies, the coalition of left-wing parties has put aside long-standing political and personal differences. By rallying around Mlenchon, their goal is to deprive Macron of the parliamentary majority he used in his first term to pass laws.

“We are going to campaign together,” said socialist leader Olivier Faure, announcing that the party’s national committee had voted on Thursday evening to join the coalition.

Yet the parties’ decision to rally around Mlenchon – who hopes to become prime minister of a new left-wing parliamentary majority – is not without risk, as he remains a divisive figure among left-leaning voters. The Socialist Party, in particular, has been torn apart by disputes over whether to support it.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party is changing its name and forming alliances with other moderate parties ahead of legislative elections.

The president’s political movement, La République en Marche, changed its name to Renaissance and teamed up with two other centrist parties to mount a joint effort to win a ruling majority in parliament for Macron’s second term.

Macron defeated far-right rival Marine Le Pen in last month’s presidential election. Le Pen’s tally in two rounds of voting was unprecedented, suggesting that political tendencies in France may be shifting ever further to the right.

However, legislative elections have traditionally been difficult for Le Pen’s National Rally, in part because other parties often come together to block its candidates. Macron’s new coalition, called Together! (Together!), is mainly facing a challenge from the left in the June legislative elections.

The president’s movement and his centrist allies together hold more than 300 seats in the outgoing parliament, making him the favorite to win a majority again.

Macron hopes that after electing him to a second five-year term, enough voters won’t want to tie his hands by imposing a parliament largely filled with opponents.

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