Tra­di­tional par­ties in France frag­ment­ing

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

PARIS: Valérie Pécresse, who leads France’s main con­ser­va­tive party in the greater Paris re­gion, is to form her own po­lit­i­cal move­ment, the lat­est sign that tra­di­tional French po­lit­i­cal par­ties are split­ting up.

Pécresse had been put for­ward by col­leagues as a po­ten­tial na­tional leader of the Repub­li­cans (LR), which like all of France’s es­tab­lished par­ties is feel­ing the pres­sure af­ter Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron and his 1-year-old cen­trist group­ing Repub­lic on the Move (LREM) swept to power ear­lier this year.

But nam­ing the new move­ment “Li­bre” which trans­lates as “Free”, Pécresse, who was a min­is­ter un­der for­mer con­ser­va­tive pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy, said the LR lead­er­ship bat­tle would be “ster­ile” for as long as the party had not found its true di­rec­tion.

She told Sun­day news­pa­per Le Jour­nal du Di­manche she would seek to po­si­tion her group­ing be­tween those who have joined Macron’s gov­ern­ment – in­clud­ing prime min­is­ter Edouard Philippe – and those who would fol­low a line she called “ag­gres­sive op­po­si­tion”, and which has gath­ered around the party’s right wing.

She said she wanted “an au­then­tic right, nei­ther sub­sumed by Macron nor por­ous with the (far right) Na­tional Front (FN.)

“What­ever his fail­ings… Macron would al­ways be a more ral­ly­ing force than a right turned in upon its con­ser­va­tive fringe,” she said.

Af­ter his vic­tory in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in May, Macron’s LREM and its al­lies won 350 seats in the 577-seat lower house, ver­sus 30 seats for the So­cial­ist party and 112 for LR dur­ing the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

There are also deep di­vi­sions in the So­cial­ist party af­ter five years in gov­ern­ment un­der François Hol­lande’s pres­i­dency – made worse by the emer­gence of France Un­bowed, a left­ist move­ment led by the charis­matic Jean-Luc Mé­len­chon.

Hol­lande’s prime min­is­ter, the pro-busi­ness Manuel Valls, has quit the party, as has Benoit Ha­mon, who was from the left of the party.

The So­cial­ists said they had elected a pro­vi­sional man­age­ment com­mit­tee com­posed of eight men and eight women to run their af­fairs while they de­cide how to re­spond to their de­feat. – Reuters

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