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The Greens (France)


Logo des verts français

Greens France

Leader
Cécile Duflot (since 2006)
Founded
January 20, 1984
Headquarters
247, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin F-75010 Paris
ideology
green politics social progressivism
international affiliation
Global Greens
The Greens (French: Les Verts, IPA: [le vɛʁ]; VEC or LV) are a Green political party to the centre-left of the political spectrum in France. They have officially been in existence since 1984, but their spiritual roots can be traced as far back as René Dumont’s candidacy for the presidency in 1974. They are a member of the European Green Party.Edit

Since 1974, the environmentalist movement has been a permanent feature of the French political scene, contesting every election: municipal, national & European.

In the years following Dumont’s challenge for the presidency, and prior to the formal confirmation of les Verts as political party, environmentalists contested elections under such banners as Ecology 78, Ecology Europe and Ecology Today. When, in 1982, the Ecologist Party merged with the Ecologist Confederation, les Verts were born. Under the ideological guidance of Antoine Waechter, the party in 1986 signalled a break with the traditional divide in French politics, declaring that environmental politics could not be “married” to either the left or the right (which gave rise to its famous slogan “ni droite, ni gauche” - "neither right, nor left"). Antoine Waechter ran in the 1988 presidential elections, capturing 1,150,000 ballots (or 3.8%) in the first round of voting. But the major breakthrough came the following year when - again under the leadership of Waechter - the Greens polled 10.6% in the European parliamentary elections.Edit
However, the party faced with another ecologist party: Ecology Generation led by Brice Lalonde, environment minister of President Mitterrand and allied with the Socialist Party (PS). In this, if the ecologist parties benefited from the electoral decline of the PS in the beginning of the 1990s, the Greens competed for the leadership of the French ecologist movement. In the 1992 regional elections, the Greens obtained 6,8% of votes and the presidency of Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. The next year, it scored 4,1% in the legislative election while all of the ecologist votes represented 11%. But, without political allies in the second round, they failed to gain a parliamentary seat.Edit

Participation in government

Waechter's influence was called into question in 1994 when the Greens decided to break with his policy of non-alignment, instead deciding to adopt a markedly left-wing stance. The move prompted Waechter to leave the Greens. He went on to found the Movement of Independent Ecologists. In the following presidential election of 1995, Dominique Voynet polled a modest 3.8% but, in due to the marginalization of Ecology Generation, the Greens captured the leadership into the family of the French political ecology.Edit
Component of Plural Left coalition, the Greens obtained for the first time a parliamentary representation in 1997. Dominique Voynet was to lead the party into government for the first time, joining Lionel Jospin’s Socialist Party (PS) and theCommunist Party (PCF). Voynet was rewarded with the cabinet position of Minister for the Environment and Regional Planning, before being replaced by Yves Cochet in 2001.Edit
Daniel Cohn-Bendit (or “Danny the Red”), a leader of the 1968 student uprising, spearheaded the party’s 1999 European campaign, obtaining 9.7% of votes cast, enough to return seven deputies to Strasbourg.Edit
Alain Lipietz was first selected to represent the Greens in the 2002 presidential elections but his public outings proved awkward and he was soon replaced by Noël Mamère who had initially lost the primary elections. Mamère's 5.25% represents the strongest Green challenge for the presidency to date. However, the legislative elections were a major disappointment: with just 4.51% of votes cast nationally, the Greens’ representation fell from six to just three deputies (out of a total of 577) in theNational Assembly.Edit

The Greens today

Following the return to opposition benches in 2002, Gilles Lemaire assumed the position of national secretary. His tenure is marked by a period of internal strife in the party. Lemaire was in turn replaced by Yann Wehrling, the present leader, who has seemingly united a majority of the membership under a text outlining the future direction that the party hopes to pursue.Edit
Les Verts had six MEPs elected in the 2004 European Election with 8.43% of the vote.Edit
In the hugely divisive 2005 referendum on the European Constitution, les Verts campaigned for a YES vote.Edit
In the French presidential election, 2007, les Verts nominated Dominique Voynet. Her low score of 1.57% in the first round was the party's worst electoral result, and the French ecologist's worst showing since René Dumont in the 1974. The party refused an electoral deal with the Socialists for the June legislative election. However, the three Green incumbents, Noël Mamère, Yves Cochet, and Martine Billard had no PS opposition in their respective constituencies. While the Green's vote share was down from 2002, it won a fourth seat in Nantes where François de Rugy defeated a UMP incumbent. The Greens now have four seats in the Assembly and sit with the PCF in the Gauche démocrate et républicaine group.Edit
In the 2009 European Parliament election, the party is an integral part of the Europe Écologie coalition, led by Daniel Cohn-Bendit.Edit
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The Skandrani AffairEdit
One of the party's co-founders, Ginette Skandrani, had long attracted criticism due to her involvement with Holocaust deniers.[2] The Stephen Roth Institute criticized the Green Party in 2004, calling its record "tainted by abortive attempts to expel from within its ranks notorious anti-Jewish activist Ginette Skandrani herself ethnically Jewish[3] who has close contacts with Holocaust deniers."[4]Edit
Other critics, such as Roger Cukierman of the CRIF (council of French Jewish organisations) did not attack the party as a whole, but rather its anti-zionist wing, claiming that it promoted a "brown-green alliance".[2]Edit
In June 2005, the Greens voted to permanently expel Skandrani. Among the reasons for her definitive expulsion were her participation in the holocaust-denial website AAARGH (Association des anciens amateurs de récits de guerres et d’holocaustes).[2] Patrick Farbiaz, a Green leader involved in her expulsion, argued that "although she has not written [anti-Semitic texts] herself, she looks like a kingpen of holocaust deniers and avowed antisemites".[2]Edit
The party had previously expelled another co-founder (in 1991), Jean Brière, for signing a text addressing the alleged "war-causing role" of Israel and "the zionist lobby in the Gulf War.[2]Edit
The whole affair underscored here is no longer and has not been a great topic of conversation in France. The French Green Party is not considered an anti-Semitic party. On the contrary, it is against all discrimination. Some of its members are Jewish. It voted for French anti-discrimination laws and works for Human rights.[5]Edit
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Call to lift sanctions against Cypriot TurksEdit
Greens'MEP Helene Flautre has attracted controversy by calling for the lifting of sanctions against Turkish Cypriots imposed by the UN for ethnic cleansing, ethnic redistribution and other breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the northern districts of the Republic of Cyprus.Edit
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Youth wingEdit
The youth branch of the Greens, founded in Strasbourg in 2001, is called Les Jeunes Verts - la Souris verte (Young Greens - the Green mouse). It is part of the FYEG since 2006.Edit
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FactionsEdit
Most internal divisions within the party concern the party's political position (neither right nor left, or left-wing) and electoral strategy (alliance with the PS, the centre or the alternative left).Edit
  • =====Neo-Waechterians (environmentalists, social liberals, centrists): Followers of former Green leader Antoine Waechter, a large part has joined the Independent Ecological Movement or, more recently, the MoDem (Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Yann Wehrling)=====
  • =====Green left (eco-socialists, democratic socialists, Maoists): Including members such as Jean Desessard, Yves Contassot and, until recently, Martine Billard=====
The current leadership, led by Cécile Duflot, and including Dominique Voynet, Yves Cochet and Noël Mamère are positioned between the two aforementioned factions.Edit
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Elected officialsEdit
  • =====Deputies: Yves Cochet, Noël Mamère, François de Rugy (GDR Group). Martine Billard, elected as a Green in 2007 joined the Left Party in July 2009.[6]=====
  • =====Senators: Marie-Christine Blandin, Alima Boumediene-Thiery, Jean Desessard, Jacques Muller, Dominique Voynet (Socialist Group).=====
  • =====MEPs: Malika Benarab-Attou, Pascal Canfin, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Karima Delli, Hélène Flautre, Catherine Grèze, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Michèle Rivasi (6 of the 14 MEPs from Europe Écologie are not members of the party).=====
The Greens hold 41 town halls, the largest city being Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis). Other cities held by the Greens include Wattwiller, Bègles and Mèze.[7] The party also claims 168 regional councillors and 14 general councillors (plus 9 Parisian councillors).Edit
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Popular support and electoral recordEdit
The Greens are strong electorally in urban areas, specifically in the Greater Paris area, Brittany and western France, parts of the Rhône-Alpes region and Alsace. In the 2009 European elections, the Greens won their best result, outside of Corsica where their result was due to the support of the Party of the Corsican Nation (PNC), in the city of Paris (27.41%),[8] Haute-Savoie (20.26%),[8] Drôme (21.75%),[9] Isère (21.64%), Hauts-de-Seine (20.74%), Ille-et-Vilaine (20.59%), and Loire-Atlantique (20.16%). It also did very well in large, wealthy urban centres such as Rennes orGrenoble. It does more poorly in rural areas, notably areas where its rival, CPNT, is strong. It also does poorly in industrial or poorer urban areas; for example it won only 9.33% in the Pas-de-Calais, a department formerly dominated by coal mining, in 2009.[10]Edit
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PresidentialEdit
President of the French RepublicEdit
Election yearEdit
CandidateEdit
# of 1st round votesEdit
 % of 1st round voteEdit
# of 2nd round votesEdit
 % of 2nd round voteEdit
1988Edit
Antoine WaechterEdit
1,149,897Edit
3.78%Edit
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1995Edit
Dominique VoynetEdit
1,010,738Edit
3.32%Edit
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2002Edit
Noël MamèreEdit
1,495,724Edit
5.25%Edit
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2007Edit
Dominique VoynetEdit
576,666Edit
1.57%Edit
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LegislativeEdit
French National AssemblyEdit
Election yearEdit
# of 1st round votesEdit
 % of 1st round voteEdit
# of seatsEdit
1986Edit
340,109Edit
1.21%Edit
0Edit
1988Edit
86,312Edit
0.35%Edit
0Edit
1993Edit
1,022,196Edit
4.08%Edit
0Edit
1997Edit
1,738,287Edit
6.83%Edit
7Edit
2002Edit
1,138,222Edit
4.51%Edit
3Edit
2007Edit
845,977Edit
3.25%Edit
4Edit
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European ParliamentEdit
European ParliamentEdit
Election yearEdit
Number of votesEdit
 % of overall voteEdit
# of seats wonEdit
1984Edit
680,080Edit
3.37%Edit
0Edit
1989Edit
1,922,945Edit
10.59%Edit
9Edit
1994Edit
574,806Edit
2.95%Edit
0Edit
1999Edit
1,715,450Edit
9.72%Edit
9Edit
2004Edit
1,271,394Edit
7.41%Edit
6Edit
2009Edit
2,803,759Edit
16.28%Edit
14Edit

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