Are the rebels in the process of unbolting the status of Mélenchon?

It is a breach in the thick armor traditionally protecting Jean-Luc Mélenchon. With the Adrien Quatennens affair, and for the first time, perhaps, since the launch of La France insoumise in 2016, the former presidential candidate is the target of direct criticism within his own camp. Last Sunday, his tweet of support for the deputy from the North, who admitted domestic violence against his wife and remains under investigation, went very badly with some of his comrades. Should we see there, however, a sign of weakness of the tribune?

Mélenchon (partly) released

The malaise was palpable on Wednesday during a press conference at the National Assembly. Asked about Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s tweet, who “welcomed the dignity and courage” of Adrien Quatennens after his withdrawal from his position as coordinator, the rebellious deputies were not leading the way. Annoyed, Mathilde Panot referred to the “press release” of the movement and quickly erased herself from the microphone. Relaunched by a journalist, the elected LFI looked at the ceiling, before Danielle Obono finally launched to answer (next). It is an understatement to say that the exit of the boss of LFI, who slightly tried to rectify the situation in a second tweet, sparked controversy in his camp.

“It made us all uncomfortable,” admitted LFI MEP Manon Aubry jThursday morning on France info. “It is doing no one a favor, neither to the victims, nor to the movement, even less to those implicated, than to minimize [les violences conjugales] added Danielle Obono Thursday noon in a press release posted on Twitter. Earlier this week, several elected officials had also criticized the reaction of the former socialist senator. “These are not my words”, reacted the deputy Clémentine Autain, while her colleague Pascale Martin considered that such reactions were “insufficient and unacceptable in more ways than one” because they could “have serious consequences” by discouraging the women to report acts of violence.

A first for veterans

A rather new sequence, note former LFI officials. “Jean-Luc Mélenchon committed other political faults, in particular during the searches [en 2019], and it has already happened that executives are opposed internally to the choices of the boss. But this is the first time, since the creation of the Mélenchon house, that it pitches to this point and in a public way, it is very surprising, ”notes political scientist Thomas Guénolé, ex-executive of the movement, left with crash in April 2019.

“There have been moments of internal tension in the past and criticism of the party’s autocratic drift, like when I was banned in 2019. But it did not then overflow too much into the media space, because the apparatus was self-purging and the disappointed left the movement, ”assures the former national orator François Cocq. “Today, Mélenchon is very surrounded numerically, but in reality he has very few historical faithful. With the expansion of the LFI base, the emergence of new figures and its position of withdrawal which weakens it, the internal balance of power is in the process of tipping”, analyzes this support from Fabien Roussel for the last presidential election.

Consequences for the future of LFI?

Contacted by 20 minutes, several elected officials from La France insoumise preferred to turn a deaf ear. “Jean-Luc Mélenchon remains the figure of the movement, even if others are emerging. It was obvious that people, and me first, would not recognize themselves in his tweet, but I think that the internal dispute, on a sensitive subject, is only circumstantial, ”relivates an LFI deputy.

It is difficult to know whether the Quatennens affair and this (slight) dispute will have deeper consequences on the organization of the movement, or even on the succession to Jean-Luc Mélenchon with a view to 2027. Especially since the latter continues to to blow hot and cold on his future. François Cocq calls for caution. “Jean-Luc Mélenchon is aiming for the long term. And those who feel like they’re getting a hit today may well pay for it when the time comes.

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