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Newly United, French Left Hopes to Counter President in Upcoming Vote

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Alex, France — The Drom region, where centuries-old stone villages are surrounded by lavender fields and cattle and goats graze in mountains and miles of vineyards, resembles miniature France.

The vast southeastern district between Lyon and Marseille, which seems to be ingrained in tradition and reluctant to change, has been the center-right political territory of France for the past two decades.

But as the first round of France’s two-stage parliamentary elections approached on Sunday, the left was long excluded after his compelling re-election victory over far-right challenger Marine Le Pen. See a rare opening that challenges President Emmanuel Macron.

France’s left-wing party, which rarely existed in the presidential election, will prevent Macron from winning a majority in parliament and reconnect himself by complicating his new five-year term. We formed an alliance for the purpose of.

At least that’s the hope of politicians like Marie Pochon, a local left-wing candidate in Drome’s third constituency, with left-wing parties surpassing Macron by more than 10 percent in the presidential election.

When he recently stopped by Alex, a small village of cream-colored stone houses in the eastern part of Drome, Poshon encountered the enthusiasm that had long fled to the left in this part of France.

“Continue, we’re all behind you!” Maud Dugrand, a resident of Allex, told Ms. Pochoon when she rang the doorbell and handed out leaflets on a narrow street. One resident read her newspaper on the terrace and refused, saying he was already convinced of her.

“Our constituency is a research institute,” said Pascal Rochas, a local Socialist candidate in the 2017 legislative election, who is now lagging behind Poshon’s candidacy. “If you can win here, you can win elsewhere.”

Drôme is certainly a snapshot of a small French town, giving local elections a national convention veneer. Until recently, the region was typical of left-wing turmoil at the national level, with parties refusing to cooperate and instead clinging to their bases.

Socialists and Communists have long dominated villages in southern Provence, but the Greens and the Left have fought for more economically threatened farmlands in the north.

However, the new Left Alliance, formed under the leadership of long-time left-wing fire brand Jean-Luc Melenchon, now makes Mr. Melenchon’s own French disobedience party a socialist, communist, and green party. We are trying to fill these gaps in connection with.

Melencheon, who finished third in the April presidential election, portrayed the parliamentary election as a “third round” presidential vote. He called on voters to figuratively “election” his prime minister by giving a majority to the coalition in the lowest and most powerful parliamentary chamber of parliament (its position is appointed by the president). ..

With the alliance, the Left avoided competing candidates and instead had a single candidate in almost every of France’s 577 constituencies, automatically increasing the chances of winning a seat in parliament.

Stewart Chau, a political analyst at polling firm Viavoice, said the alliance was “the only dynamic thing in the current political situation.”

Since his defeat in the presidential election, Mr. Le Pen’s National Union has been unable to promote public debate on his favorite themes of economic instability, immigration and crime, and has voted twice in general in favor of more moderate candidates. In most cases, the system is on the far right, where only dozens of seats can be secured in Congress.

“We have succeeded in pushing the idea that the game is not over,” said Chau, who created a new “center of gravity” for the French left and, despite Macron’s reelection.

opinion poll It is now giving the left-wing coalition (called the Nouvelle Union populaire écologiquet sociale, more commonly known by the acronym NUPES) the chance to win 160-230 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly.

That could be enough to interrupt Mr Macron’s parliamentary political agenda and confuse his second term as president, but that’s not certain.

Environmental activist Poshon, 32, best embodies the outreach of the Left Alliance, perhaps even in areas that have long been dominated by centre-rights.

Economic and social issues vary widely along the road through the third member of Drome. Each of the 238 municipalities, home to just a few thousand, faces specific challenges.

Economic instability, lack of doctors and lack of public transport are the main concerns of agricultural land in the north of the area, but the villages of Provence in the south are of increasing importance to the local economy, which is increasingly threatened by rising temperatures. I am more worried about the production of lavender, which is a characteristic of the economy.

To address a variety of issues, Poshon used the Alliance’s extensive platform. This includes raising the monthly minimum wage to € 1,500, or about $ 1,600. With a large investment in green energy, he will begin the transition to the ecosystem. Reintroduce small train lines. And put an end to the medical desert.

“We are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of rural environmentalism left in these areas,” Poshon said in an interview.

It also helped local leftists work together in the elections to put an end to the division that Rochas said was a “broken heart.”

In Drome, Macron’s supporters acknowledged the challenges they faced. “I’m a little worried because NUPES is so present on the ground,” said Maurice Ravel, who was handing out leaflets at the open-air market of Celia de La Vergne, a current member of the Diet and a member of Macron’s party. Said. , La Republique En Marche.

De La Vergne, who was running for re-election and campaigning in the small town of Saint-Paul-Trois Chateau in the south of Drome, said it would be a “close competition” between her and Pochon.

She attacked the Left Alliance because of its economic foundation, saying it was unrealistic and condemned the Union’s plan to phase out its dependence on nuclear power.

Instead, she emphasizes how Mr. Macron fought to acquire additional reactors for his local nuclear power plant as part of his ambitious plan to build 14 new generation reactors. did.

“Being an antinuclear antibody is a complete anomaly,” said retired Jean-Paul Sanyar, 72, as he walked through the vegetable stalls on the market. He added that Macron’s platform is “the most economically sensible one.”

Even among leftist supporters, there are frequent criticisms of Mr. Melenchon’s fiery personality.

Lavender producer Maurice Fechette said he was indifferent to voting for the Left Alliance on Sunday as Melenchon called for the election of prime minister.

“I don’t think he has what he needs to lead the country,” said Fechette, who stands in the middle of the lavender field.

On the narrow streets of Alex’s village, Poshon’s supporter Dugrand also told the candidate that Melenchon was “not my tea.” But she couldn’t hide her excitement in her outlook that the Left would be the main opposition to Mr Macron. Meanwhile, it was virtually silent.

“There is only one wish that something will happen,” she said.

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