Former French President François Hollande to Run in Snap Election for Far-Left ‘New Popular Front’

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 05: French president Francois Hollande at a meeting of an Internatio
Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images

Former French President François Hollande said he will run as a candidate in the snap legislative elections after throwing his support behind the far-left-led “New Popular Front” alliance.

Seven years after leaving office from a presidency mired by Islamic terrorism and economic hardship, François Hollande has returned to the frontlines of French politics, throwing his hat in the ring to once again serve as a deputy in the National Assembly.

Hollande, a longtime member of the Socialist Party, was nominated by the leftist party to represent the so-called “New Popular Front” in the constituency of Corrèze, Le Figaro reports.
“In an exceptional situation, I had to make an exceptional decision,” Hollande said on Saturday, adding: “If I made this decision, it is because I felt that the situation was serious. The danger represented by the extreme right is now proven. How can we remain indifferent?”

While the far-left has been deeply divided over the past several months, particularly in the wake of the October 7th terror attacks on Israel and the rise of antisemitism in France, the Socialist Party, the green Les Écologists, and the French Communist Party announced this week they would partner with the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed/LFI) party of radical leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

The move of partnering with Mélenchon — the leading leftist in the country who is often compared to Bernie Sanders in the U.S. or Jeremy Corbyn in the UK and who has been accused of antisemitism and cosying up to radical Islamists — explained by the more centrist elements of the “New Popular Front” as being necessary to confront the rise of the populist right-wing National Rally of Marine Le Pen, which is predicted to win the snap elections called by President Emmanuel Macron after being trounced by the Le Pen party in the European Parliament elections earlier this month.

Although the New Popular Front — named after the alliance of French leftist parties in 1936 led by Socialist Prime Minister Léon Blum — has won the backing of leading left-wing figures such as former President Hollande, there have been many on the left who have criticised the new alliance.

Former Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who served as François Hollande’s second in command from 2014 to 2016, described the alliance with LFI as a “miserable electoral agreement” and a “moral mistake”.

“The fact that social-democratic and environmentalist parties are signing an agreement with La France Insoumise, whose anti-Semitic remarks, pro-Hamas and long-time pro-Putin positions are known to everyone, outrages me. The mobilisation of the left in the face of the peril of the extreme right, the use of hackneyed historical concepts like the Popular Front – not everyone can be Léon Blum – in no way justify crossing this red line,” Valls told Le Point.

“There is no reason to sign a pact with Jean-Luc Mélenchon and his friends. Everyone has been able to see the political and ethical abyss that should separate the other parties on the left from these people. Mélenchon considered the rise of anti-Semitism in France to be ‘residual’. This should disqualify him forever… It is a sad day for the left.”

Hollande’s decision to join the far-left alliance came as leading critics of Mélenchon were “purged” on Friday from the various leftist parties that comprise the New Popular Front.

Commenting on the cutthroat political manoeuvring, the centre-left Le Monde newspaper wrote: “This has created dissidence from the outset. The move, condemned by Mélenchon’s partners, is yet another sign of the authoritarian and sectarian practices that prevail within LFI. This settling of scores was the worst possible message to send at the dawn of this new union.”

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