France’s Greens on Tuesday chose Yannick Jadot, a 54-year-old member of the European Parliament, as their candidate to challenge President Emmanuel Macron in next year’s presidential election.
Joining an increasingly crowded field of hopefuls, Jadot will compete with the socialist mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and far-left contender Jean-Luc Melenchon of the France Unbowed party for votes from the left of French politics.
Despite the astonishing successes in the 2020 local elections, in which the Greens claimed control of key municipalities, such as Bordeaux and Lyon, the Europe Ecology The Greens (EELV) party has yet to make a big impact at the national level. .
Their influence lags far behind that of their green counterparts in Germany, who have already tried coalition rule and are eager to appear in the next administration, where they can play a king-maker role.
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Jadot, the only French member of the Greens with national name recognition, has promised a pragmatic “solution-driven” approach to environmental policies.
Her runner-up rival, Sandrine Rousseau, sometimes called an “ecofeminist”, stunned in the first round of online voting last week, finishing a close second out of five candidates with 25.14 percent, compared to the 27.7 percent of Jadot.
Analysts attributed the strong performance to Rousseau’s feminist credentials after she went public with allegations of sexual harassment against a Greens leader during the #MeToo movement.
His radical proposals on the economy and the environment – he wants to introduce a living wage and significantly increase fuel prices and taxes on the rich – have also mobilized the party base.
But in Tuesday’s online primary runoff, Rousseau had to concede with just under 49 percent of the vote, unable to win over party skeptics who disliked his moves to shift the focus of concerns. traditional greens to the social and economic territory.
The two main left-wing parties, the Socialists and the far-left France Unbowed, fear losing votes to the Greens.
But analysts still hope that the April elections will end up as a duel between Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, while emphasizing that the emergence of a strong contender on the traditional right could still upset these calculations.