Jan 29th, 2017, 08:21 PM

The French Left Wing For Dummies

By Verónica Ayala
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Pablo Tupin-Noriega
What you need to know to understand the political parties of the French left-wing.

For those of you who are clueless about French politics, two weeks ago, French people voted to decide who will be the candidate of the Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party) which is the strongest left-leaning party in the country. The current president, François Hollande, is from PS. He was elected in 2012 and since has lost popularity because, according to some French citizens, he didn't work enough in social progress. Many polls were made in France this past year, where Hollande received 14% of votes. The biggest issue was the labor reform that his government wanted to approve, which led to several protests in France this past summer.

The candidates for this past primary were Manuel Valls and Benoît Hamon. Both of them have worked in Hollande's government. Benoît Hamon won the primary second round with 58.6% of the votes. He worked as Minister of Education for four months under Hollande, and resigned from his position because he disagreed with many of the decisions made in Hollande's administration. Now he is the candidate for the Socialist Party and will go up against Marine Le PenEmmanuel Macron, and Francois Fillon in the next presidential elections that will be held April 23 of this year.

Aside from the Socialist Party, the left wing in France is pretty divided and confusing. There are many different parties because they don't generally come to agreements. Although some French people believe that the only one that matters is PS, we cannot ignore the other parties, that would be naive. 

Europe Ecologie Les Verts (Europe Ecology- The Greens)

The EELV is a central-left party which was founded in 2010. Before, the party functioned as several separate entities, but they came to realize that unifying was a good way of having a strong front. In the 2012 elections, their candidate was Eva Joly, who got 2% of the votes in the first round. They fight for environmental issues, mostly to favor renewable energy, reduce CO2 emissions, create "green jobs," and much more. Their candidate for the elections this April is Yannick Jadot. His slogan is: "For a new alliance between ecology and society."  

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Eric Coquelin

Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (New Anticapitalist Party)

This political party is a far left party created in 2009. They launched this party with the objective of unifying all the French radical left parties. Their first candidate for the 2012 elections was Philippe Poutou. He came eighth in the first round of elections, 1.2% of the population voted for him. Some of their main ideas are anti-capitalism, anti-racism, neo-communism, feminism, and anti-nationalism. They use radical measures in their fight for equality. Their candidate for this elections is, once again, Philippe Poutou.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Myrabella

Lutte Ouvriere (Workers Struggle) 

At last, LO party is described as a communist party founded in 1939. They claim that they refer to communism not as the bloody regimes of Mao or Stalin, but actually just as a Trotskyist party who works for the proletariat. Their candidate for the 2012 elections was Nathalie Arthaud and got 1.2% of the votes. For this year their candidate is, once again, Nathalie Arthaud.   

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Toufik-de-planoise

Though this isn't an exhaustive list of all of the left-wing political parties in France, the ones above are the parties that are the most prevalent in the presidential elections for La gauche.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/BigonL