France’s left-wing alliance leaders vow to ‘extinguish the flame of the far right’ in upcoming elections

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PARIS (AP) — Leaders of France’s left-wing parties, united in a new coalition known as the New Popular Front, laid out their plan Friday to prevent the far-right from taking power in upcoming snap national parliamentary elections.

While differences between them remain, the leaders of France’s usually divisive left-wing parties insisted that they had all made compromises during four days of negotiations and aligned their positions on issues such as the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict had brought to prevent a conflict between Israel and Hamas. A victory for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party could see France’s far right lead a government for the first time since World War II.

The far right is “at the door of power,” the leaders of the New Popular Front warned at a press conference. They urged supporters to mobilize rather than despair, to show up and cast their votes, rather than stay behind, and resigned to the fact that the outcome of the ‘historic election’ had already been determined in favor of the far-right party with a history of racism and xenophobia. .

“We are going to extinguish the flame of the National Rally,” said Marine Tondelier, the national secretary of the Ecologists party. “It’s us or them.”

The elections will take place in two rounds, on June 30 and July 7.

In addition to the environmentalist parties, the New Popular Front alliance, named after a similar coalition formed in the 1930s against the rise of fascism in France, also includes the French Socialists and Communists and Jean-Luc Melanchon’s far-left France Unbowed party . , who has been accused of anti-Semitic attitudes in the aftermath of the war between Israel and Hamas.

If elected, they promised to repeal the controversial unemployment benefits reform pushed by Macron’s government and reverse his deeply unpopular pension reform law, which raised the retirement age from 62 to 64. They also promised to increase the minimum wage and adjust salaries and pensions with the government. inflation percentage.

The leaders of the alliance’s four main parties emphasized that there was no place for anti-Semitism within their ranks. On the sensitive issue of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, they said they agreed to condemn the deadly October 7 Hamas-led incursion into southern Israel as “terrorist massacres” and demanded the release of all hostages held by the group in Gaza were detained.

They also pledged unwavering support for Ukraine and its defense against Russian aggression, although they promised that French troops would never be sent to Ukraine to aid the struggle.

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Barbara Surk reported from Nice, France.

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