NUPES is a French electoral coalition consisting of La France Insoumise, the Socialists, the Communists and the Greens. It achieved fair success in the 2022 elections (for the presidency and the parliament) – in the presidential elections their candidate (Jean-Luc Mélenchon) was only narrowly surpassed by Marine Le Pen for second-place (and entry into the run-off); in the parliamentary elections they actually won more seats than her far-right faction did (142 to 89), making them the main opposition bloc against Macron’s centrist government.

In 2023, however, the NUPES alliance is now looking shaky. La France Insoumise’s dominance of the grouping is increasingly irritating the other three parties, whose party congresses have all debated their continued participation in recent months (and while they have, for now, decided to keep participating, it’s been a narrow decision). While their success in the 2022 French elections was predicated on the parties’ agreement not to run rival candidates against each other in seats, this agreement does not seem to hold for local elections, nor for the upcoming 2024 European elections. There was supposed to be a “NUPES parliament” which would not only include representatives of the four parties but also trade unionists, not-for-profit leaders, and “prominent figures from the scientific and cultural spheres”, but after a triumphant launch in June 2022 it’s only met once, in October.

There’s also been in-fighting within NUPES over Mélenchon’s apparent softness on misogynistic abuse. Basically La France Insoumise’s party coordinator, Adrien Quatennes, had been abusing his wife, and Mélenchon’s initial statement did not mention the wife at all, merely praising Quatennes’ “dignity” and “courage” for stepping down as coordinator once this became public knowledge. After Quatennes pled guilty and was given a suspended sentence of four months in prison, the leaders of the other three parties insisted that Quatennes be forced to resign, but La France Insoumise only “suspended” him. Apparently Mélenchon was under pressure from his party’s elected officials (including the head of the parliamentary party) not to give him the boot, even though 1,000 NUPES rank-and-file members (including many of La France Insoumise) put their names to an op-ed demanding his exclusion. TBH I’ve gotta say: what could possibly be more on-brand for French leftist men than downplaying sexist abuse? It’s textbook.

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