All is not well on the French Left. The Socialist party (PS) performed disastrously in the presidential elections and is still only hovering above the 5% threshold for the EP elections. Projections put the PS on 5 seats, a loss of 8 seats from an already poor showing in 2014. Hopes that the various parties of the left could unite around a common list seem to have vanished. In the political space between President Macron’s LREM and Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise, there exist a host of parties fighting for votes, including the PS, Générations (the party of PS presidential candidate and former MEP Benoit Hamon), EELV (the Greens led by Yannick Jadot), PCF, Générations Ecologie, les Radicaux de Gauche; the REV and no doubt more.

There was hope that former PS presidential candidate and Ecology Minister, Ségolene Royale, could come to the rescue and she appeared willing to assume 2nd place on a list led by Jadot – only for the Green’s leader to turn down the offer. A further nail in the socialist coffin was the decision by Benoit Hamon to reject any common list with the PS while they remained members of the S&D group in the European Parliament. Hamon argued that he could not belong to a group that worked hand in glove with the right (EPP) and which had chosen Frans Timmermans as their candidate for Commission President, a man they accused of being as liberal as his boss, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Royale washed her hands of both Jadot and Hamon, warning them that they would have to account for themselves if the election resulted in chaos in the EP, with a resurgent right-wing nationalism lording over the Left.

The situation is further complicated by the impact of the  “gilets jaunes” on the EP elections. A list headed by Ingrid Levavasseur, one of the most high profile protestors, has been announced under the group calling itself Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne. They have deliberately steered clear of putting any political figures on their provisional list and early forecasts predict them getting upto 13% of the vote, taking votes from both far right and the left. This initiative has still a long way to go before actually getting members elected and the lack of cohesion within the gilets jaunes has been evident in the hostile reaction from much of the movement to entering the political fray. A second high profile protester, Jacline Mouraud, whose video attacking the fuel tax helped spark the wave of protests, has announced she will also form a political party called Les Emergents. She says she has no plans yet to field candidates for the EP elections and would aim at the local elections in 2020, but she could well be drawn into the election campaign.