French Socialist Party (PS) First Secretary Olivier Faure speaks during the party's investiture convention in Lille, France October 23, 2021.
French Socialist Party (PS) First Secretary Olivier Faure speaks during the party's investiture convention in Lille, France October 23, 2021. Reuters / PASCAL ROSSIGNOL

France's Socialist Party and the hard-left La France Insoumise (LFI) agreed in principle on Wednesday to run together in June parliamentary elections and try to deprive newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron of a majority.

If confirmed, the coalition pact, which the Greens and Communists approved earlier this week, will be the first time the French left has united in 20 years - but under the helm of the eurosceptic, hard-left LFI this time around.

"We can and will beat Emmanuel Macron and we can do it with a majority to govern for a radical programme," LFI lawmaker Adrien Quatennens told Franceinfo radio.

The deal took shape under the leadership of LFI's firebrand chief Jean-Luc Melenchon, who broke from the Socialist Party (PS) in 2008 after failing to dilute its pro-European Union stance. He wants to "disobey" the bloc's rules on budget and competition issues and challenge its free-market principles.

The deal, which still needs to be approved by the PS national committee, says both the traditionally very pro-European PS and eurosceptic LFI agree to "disobey" or "depart" from EU rules on a number of policies.

Both parties, a joint statement said, committed to pushing the EU to be more focused on social rights and the protection of the environment.

Macron, whose swearing-in ceremony for his second term will be held on Saturday, has not yet announced a widely expected change in prime minister. Some of his pro-EU camp's candidates for the June elections should be known later this week.


Policies of the new left-wing alliance include plans to lower the retirement age to 60, raise the minimum wage and cap prices on essential products.

If confirmed, Melenchon's success in striking a deal with the Socialists, long the dominant force on the left, would mark a turning point for a party that has given France two presidents since World War Two and been a driving force for European integration.

But the Socialists had little leverage in the talks. Their presidential candidate, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, garnered a meagre 1.75% of votes cast in last month's ballot, while Melenchon was third with 22%.

PS veterans, including ex-party leader Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, have already called on fellow members to block the deal, saying it could mark the end of a pro-EU force on the left.

"It will be complicated to get it approved in the national committee," Corinne Narassiguin, a former PS lawmaker, told Reuters.

In a sign of the PS's recent collapse, Narassiguin said the deal - under which only one lawmaker from each party that joins the alliance will run in any constituency - foresees that the PS would have only 70 candidates in mainland France, and possibly a few more in oversees territories.

The French lower house has 577 lawmakers.

A recent Harris Interactive poll showed a united left and an alliance between Macron's centrist party and the conservatives running neck and neck, each with 33% of the legislative vote. However, in France's two-round electoral system, projections show this could still yield a majority of seats for Macron.