Saturday, May 21

Presidential 2022. Fabien Roussel, the communist who divides even his own camp

The French Communist Party candidate for the presidential election Fabien Roussel will present his program next Monday. But the one who defends a “popular” line has recently attracted the attention of the media and the right. All while hitting a part of the left and even some communists, who blame him for a shift to the right.

Divisive controversial outings

“Popular” is indeed the first word that comes to mind of its campaign manager Ian Brossat. The left “only addressing one in four voters, the intellectual middle classes of the city center, it is necessary to address those who no longer identify with it”, he explains.

It is with this premise in mind that Fabien Roussel went to the Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines toll on Thursday morning to show motorists his support for lower fuel prices. The candidate, who has easy contact, put on a yellow vest and distributed his leaflets himself. The move is also a response to some environmentalists, Sandrine Rousseau in the lead, who believes the rise in gasoline prices is inevitable. The communist teams have clashed in recent days with a whole fringe of the left on Twitter.

Fabien Roussel also did not hesitate to take polemical positions that were less and less popular on the left. “Good wine, good meat, good cheese: for me, that’s French gastronomy. The best way to defend good wine, good gastronomy, is to allow the French to have access to it, ”he said on Twitter. Enough to trigger controversy on social networks and reprisals from left-wing activists and politicians, pointing to the “franchouillarde” position of the communist candidate.

He has also drawn the ire of environmentalists, notably with another tweet two days ago. “The Tour de France, green Christmas trees, meat and nuclear power plants should be banned. We want to meet the expectations of the working classes! “, can we read. And declare to theOpinion that he was not an “ayatollah who wants to ban everything” and that “life based on quinoa and tofu is bland”. A position deemed contemptuous on the left, where activists criticize Fabien Roussel for thinking that the working classes would not be interested in the climate or global warming.

His uninhibited patriotism also displeased the internationalists, his preference for nuclear power was described as backward-looking… But some conservative observers were delighted. “He is doing a good campaign”, recognizes a close friend of Anne Hidalgo, “but that is not why he takes off” from his 2% of voting intentions in the polls.

Purchasing power and work will be at the heart of the program unveiled on Monday. “The work was abandoned by the communists: we were more on a societal posture”, explained Monday to the Point the boss of the PCF deputies André Chassaigne, who worked for the appointment of Fabien Roussel.

A “very identity line” which divides

More annoying, Fabien Roussel outraged some PCF executives by inviting to his tribute to Charlie Hebdo, in January place du Colonel-Fabien, relatives of the Republican Spring movement such as the essayist Caroline Fourest and the press cartoonist Xavier Gorce. “The selection of guests confirms a political shift made by my party in recent months. And the Republican Spring rubs its hands on it, ”for example tweeted PCF MP Elsa Faucillon.

“A choice in contradiction with the majority line of the last 10 years on the subject, which is the fight against Islamophobia”, growls on condition of anonymity a member of the National Council, the party’s parliament. He describes a “complicated internal climate with the candidate’s desire to split on the line. The passage on the meat was grotesque, he handed over a coin to exist. The climate is also violent, made of attacks on elected officials for the signatures of sponsorship.

Fabien Roussel, who obtained his 500 signatures, asked the mayors not to give up a single sponsorship to his left-wing competitors to “give strength” to his candidacy. A position strongly criticized by Jean-Luc Mélenchon and insubordinate France, but also by Philippe Poutou. The candidate of the New Anti-Capitalist Party, struggling to collect the 500 promises of elected officials, denounced the position of the leader of the PCF last week.

The interview at Point of André Chassaigne, the leader of the PCF deputies who worked for the election of Fabien Roussel as party boss, also raised some teeth. Asked about a possible victory for the left in 2027, he replied: “For that, the Socialist Party must rebuild itself and the Communist Party must regain its aura”.

The member of the National Council deciphers: “The very identity line, red on the form, hides the return to the plural left… And that, some of the communists do not want it”.

Moreover, the candidacy of Fabien Roussel for the Presidential is far from having won unanimous support in the PCF since only 52% of the members voted in his favour. Several party figures indeed supported, as in 2017, a joint candidacy with the insubordinate France of Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

PCF elected officials turn to Mélenchon

Result, Mélenchon, leading the polls on the left, attracts some elected officials. The deputy for Seine-Maritime Sébastien Jumel joined him on Sunday. On Tuesday the PCF mayors of Stains, Azzedine Taïbi, and Dieppe, Nicolas Langlois, called on their comrades to favor “the best placed” rather than a “testimonial candidacy”. In other words: vote Mélenchon and not Roussel.

Without going so far as to support Jean-Luc Mélenchon, several members of the National Council intervened in the December session to call for outstretched hands on the left. “We cannot sweep aside the public offers that have been made on the left, whatever their ulterior motives,” said Pierre Laurent, the former number 1 of the party and current president of the National council.

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