On November 15, the Assembly voted on yet another motion of censure, which followed yet another 49.3. But this time, the motion was not only rebellious. Communists and ecologists had also signed it. Not the socialists. André Chassaigne, the president of the Democratic and Republican Left group (GDR, where the Communists sit), took the initiative of calling his counterparts from other left-wing groups to organize a united motion. Mathilde Panot, the rebellious one, and Cyrielle Châtelain, the eco-friendly one, quickly agree. “When I call Boris Vallaud [le président du groupe socialiste], he told me that he cannot commit to his group in such a short time, we only had a few hours to submit the text. »
And for good reason: the group is divided. Around fifteen deputies are campaigning to sign with the ex-Nupes, including Boris Vallaud and Olivier Faure, the first secretary. But the statements of LFI MP David Guiraud on Israel in previous days have cooled some. Decision was finally made not to sign the motion but, as usual, to vote on it. “We are also the only group, with LFI, where there is not a single vote missing for the motion. It was our way of counterbalancing… but it’s illegible,” notes a unionist socialist. Illegible is also the word we are tempted to use to describe the strategy of the Socialist Party since the Hamas attacks in Israel massively disrupted the game on the left: “We find ourselves defensive on a ridge path », summarizes Arthur Delaporte, PS deputy perceived as the most pro-Nupes.
The Nupes without the Nupes
After a hesitation, the PS in fact decreed, in mid-October, a “moratorium” on its participation in Nupes. The socialists no longer participate until a reflection – which no one hopes for anymore – on the functioning of the alliance is initiated. In fact, there are no more morning intergroup meetings… and that’s about it. The links with LFI remain important: “We voted on their motions of censure, the deputies of each committee continue to work together. There are convergences! », assures a socialist framework. Latest episode to date: the appeal to the Constitutional Council against the full employment law was signed by all the groups of the former Nupes. Only the logo was missing from the press release.
This is what annoys some LFI deputies: “If we consider that we are indeed accomplices of Hamas, then we cannot be friends every two hours in the corridors” The problem is that with 32 deputies and MEPs, the Socialist Group does not really have a choice. It is impossible to file a motion of censure alone, an appeal to the Constitutional Council or to weigh in on the debates. “If we decide not to sign anything because of this or that LFI deputy, we will no longer be able to do anything by the end of the mandate. It quickly gained consensus. But we will have to let time pass,” explains a unionist PS deputy.
“Not the right reason to break up with LFI”
The question then arises: does the Socialist Party have the means for its moratorium? “That’s a good question…”, admits the same person. First on the form: can the Socialist Party apply to itself what it demands from rebellious France, that is to say renounce its freedom of speech as a party and agree to first on each subject with his partners? Would it be, for examplee, capable of accepting without flinching a left-wing coalition which mostly decides to give up the Toulouse-Castres motorway, for which the PS president of Occitanie, Carole Delga, is fighting? This is very doubtful.
On the merits, then. Six weeks after the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, the positions between the Socialist Party and France Insoumise are very close: demand for a ceasefire, international humanitarian law, two-state solutions… Certainly, France Insoumise still stubbornly refuses to qualify Hamas as terrorist. This is notable, but not everyone sees this as a fundamental problem. “I am convinced that we have demonized too much,” admits a socialist deputy. Especially since I don’t believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a reason for division in France: it excites the Parisian editorial staff but not the people. This is not the right reason to break up with LFI. Regarding the riots this summer, it would have been more coherent. »
Even Olivier Faure seems to want to put an end to the high-speed demonization that the rebels have experienced over the last four weeks: “Perhaps we shouldn’t look for one controversy a day,” he declared at the beginning of the month on Public Senate regarding the interpretation of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s tweets. Recalling that, all the same, LFI had recognized the crimes of Hamas.
“We were a bit involved in something that imposed itself on us… but now, it’s done,” notes the unionist PS deputy cited above. Another thinks that the break came earlier than everyone imagined (during the European campaign next June), and that the party was not prepared for it. As a result, the PS seems to be returning to its position from Macron’s first five-year term: a party which gives the impression of not knowing where it lives, and whose positions are defined like the movements of a tumbler under the blows of current events. “We cannot fall back into this artistic vagueness where we seem to be the left wing of the macronie, we are an opposition party! », Warns Philippe Brun, PS MP with a unionist tendency.
To summarize, the socialists saw, in the post-October 7 controversy, a golden opportunity to get rid of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. They went into battle with their swords drawn and with a clear assumption of their strength. But at the end of November, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who is undoubtedly not in his best form, remains according to the polls far, very far ahead of all the other options on the left. “It’s normal,” says someone close to Olivier Faure. Most people only become interested in politics once every five years. For most of these people, the leader of the left, the useful vote, is always Mélenchon. The question is: how do we change this state of affairs? This is the work of the coming months. »
That’s still a lot of changes: towards a union at the start of 2021, then a very anti-Mélenchon socialist candidacy in 2022, then the Nupes, finally an unprepared rupture… “History shows that crises are always surmountable, recalls Arthur Door. Because political situations never remain the same. There are always changes in the context, facts of the game, major events which ultimately make us say that what brings us closer is stronger. » All this is true, the Nupes itself was an unexpected event. But for the PS, it would be better if the next game event arrived quickly.