Advertisement

French Elections For Members

Explained: The French leftist alliance's programme for government

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Explained: The French leftist alliance's programme for government
A man walks past election posters of the Nouveau Front Populaire. Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP

In an unexpected result, the leftist alliance the Nouveau Front Populaire topped the polls in France's snap elections on Sunday. The situation is complicated and lengthy negotiations are expected in order to form the next government - but what kind of policies can we expect from a government with an NFP heart?

Advertisement

The final results, released on Monday morning by the Interior Ministry show the Nouveau Front Populaire in the lead with 182 seats, followed by Macron's centrists on 168, the far-right Rassemblement National in third on 143 and the centre-right Les Républicains in fourth with 45 seats.

However no party won the 289 seats required for a majority in parliament - the likely result will be a lengthy period of political wrangling while the parties try to form coalitions or alliances that will get them the required majority.

READ ALSO What happens now in France after bombshell election results?

While we don't know exactly what the new French government will look like - or when to expect it - the left will certainly play a role.

Advertisement

So what kind of policies can we expect from them?

Alliance

The complicating factor in this is that Nouveau Front Populaire is not a single party - it's an alliance of four parties and it covers quite a political range, from the centre-left Parti Socialiste (party of former presidents François Hollande and François Mitterand) through the Green party to the hard-left La France Insoumise and the Communists.

Within that alliance, La France Insoumise got 77 seats, Parti Socialiste 54, Greens 28 and Communists 9.

La France Insoumise tends to get the most press coverage, partly because it's the biggest but also because of its charismatic firebrand leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon. But it should be remembered that this is a coalition, not a single party. 

It includes Mélenchon but also ex president François Hollande (elected as an MP in Corrèze), Marine Tondelier of the Greens and the popular Euro-election leader Raphaël Glucksmann.

Much depends on whether the group manages to keep its fragile alliance together and agree on a candidate to nominate as prime minister, as well as whether Emmanuel Macron's group succeeds in splitting the leftist group and making an alliance with the more centre-left elements.

But with all those caveats in mind, here's a look at their policies;

Programme 

As you would expect from such a broad group, there are significant points of difference between the parties.

The group did, however, manage to agree on a joint manifesto for these elections - albeit leaving conspicuously vague the areas that the parties disagree on most, especially when they relate to foreign policy.

Advertisement

Here's the main priorities for a Nouveau Front Populaire government;

Cancellations - much of the programme is concerned with cancelling recent Macronist laws. Among the laws it says it wants cancel is the new immigration bill - the one that introduces French language tests for certain types of residency card and raises the language level required for French citizenship.

Also set for the chop are Macron's changes to unemployment benefits (albeit that the Macronists themselves paused this reform in the run-up to the election) plus a cancellation of the price rises in electricity and gas and the reintroduction of the 'wealth tax' scrapped by Macron in 2018.

The big cause on the left in recent years has been Macron's pension reforms raising the pension age from 62 to 64. These were finally rammed through parliament using special powers in 2023, following months of protests.

The Nouveau Front Populaire wants to not only cancel the reform, but the drop the standard pension age further, down to 60.

Advertisement

Immigration - the group's policies are good ones for immigrants in France or those hoping to move here some day.

In addition to - as mentioned - scrapping the new immigration law, the manifesto also proposes introducing a 10-year carte de séjour residency card 'as the standard card' - at present the standard model is for one-year cards initially and then move on to five-year and then 10-year cards, although there are significant variations based on your personal status (eg working, student, retired or family member).

The left's key policy during the immigration debates in January was the regularisation of thousands of 'sans papiers' or undocumented workers, by introducing an amnesty for people who are already in France and working in key sectors such as construction or healthcare.

Economy - The group would raise the Smic (minimum wage) to €1,600 a month. There would also be a range of measures aimed at tackling the rising cost of living with an increase in various forms state aid to low-income households, as well as the "freezing the prices of basic necessities in food, energy and fuel".

They would also make some changes to the tax system, including the creation of14 brackets for income tax, instead of the five France has currently. The goal with this would be for people earning less than €4,000 a month to pay less in tax, while everyone earning more than that would pay more, but on a progressive scale, LFI MEP Manon Aubry told BFMTV.

The left-wing coalition also wants to replace the current wealth tax (IFI), and re-establish the previous 'wealth solidarity tax' that also took financial assets, in addition to property, into account when being applied. 

The NFP also says they would want to 'add a climate component' to the new version of the wealth tax, but it’s not entirely clear what that would entail.

Economists say that the group's programme is uncosted and could result in a worsening of France's deficit or even a financial crash similar to the one seen in the UK in response to ex prime minister Liz Truss' disastrous budget.

Environment - Green policies form a key part of the Nouveau Front Populaire manifesto with a range of green incentives plus tax and financing rules that would clamp down on fossil fuels.

They would also ban the controversial irrigation techniques 'méga-basinnes' and invest in renewable offshore energy, such as wind power and development of tidal energy to "make France the European leader."

Advertisement

Foreign policy - On foreign policy there are some delicately worded compromises since views on Ukraine and Gaza had previously split the leftist alliance. The group promises to "unfailingly defend the sovereignty and freedom of the Ukrainian people" including by delivering weapons and writing off debt. On Gaza, the party would recognise the Palestinian state and embargo arms supplies to Israel.

Policy towards the EU includes refusing the 'Stability and Growth Pact' (which regulates member countries' deficits) and ending free-trade treaties, as well as reforming the Common Agriculutral Policy (CAP).

Social policy - The NFP proposes creating a 'menstrual leave scheme', as well as making the process to change one's gender (civil status) on civil documents easier. Currently, it involves going in front of a judge, but the NFP wants to make it so you can go through a civil registrar (eg, a mayor) instead. 

They would also increase funding for gender transitions, as well as making parental leave equal between both parents. They advocate for passing a law to combat gender-based and sexual violence.

More

Comments

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also