France’s ‘yellow vests’ to run in European elections

France's 'yellow vests' to run in European elections
Ingrid Levavasseur. Photo: AFP
A group of French "yellow vest" protesters announced plans Wednesday to field candidates in this year's European Parliament elections, with a 31-year-old health worker to lead a list that a poll suggests could win up to 13 percent of the vote.
The group listed 10 people who will run for seats in the European Parliament in May on the “Citizen-led Rally” ticket, aged 29 to 53 and with jobs ranging from forklift driver and stay-at-home mother to sales director.
   
The list will be fronted by Ingrid Levavasseur (see above), a care worker raising two children alone in Normandy who is popular in the movement.
   
Levavasseur recently made headlines by turning down an offer to become a regular commentator on the BFM news network after receiving threats from other yellow vests who view mainstream media with suspicion.
 
French singer Francis Lalanne (C) sits with “yellow vests” during a press conference on a “yellow vest” list for the European elections of May 2019. Photo: AFP
 
Hayk Shahinyan, a spokesperson for the group, said it aimed to present 79 candidates in total, with the remaining 69 to be chosen in an internal ballot by mid-February.
   
An Elabe poll published Wednesday showed the anti-establishment yellow vests — a movement that began in mid-December over fuel taxes but has since 
widened into a broader anti-government campaign — taking 13 percent of votes in the May 26 election.
   
The poll, which showed President Emmanuel Macron's centrist Republic on the Move coming out on top, ahead of the far-right National Rally (RN), predicted 
that the yellow vests would hurt Marine Le Pen's RN the most.
 
By taking part in the election, the yellow vest representatives risk accentuating a split in the movement between radicals opposed to all party politics and moderates who believe that change can come only by participating in the political system.
   
“I'm a yellow vest but I don't want any election list… You don't represent me”, one supporter of the movement, identified as Benoit Delhaye, wrote in response on Twitter.

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