Who will succeed Julien Bayou at the head of Europe Ecologie-Les Verts? The members vote on Saturday during a “decentralized congress”, a first step which will reveal the state of the balance of power in a party marked by divisions and which is struggling to assert itself.
Weighed down by the 4.6% of its presidential candidate Yannick Jadot, EELV is struggling to be heard, even if thanks to the left alliance (Nupes), the party won a group of deputies in the Assembly. The party, which wants to be at the forefront of the women’s issue, has been weakened by the “affair” Julien Bayou, the outgoing national secretary, accused by MP Sandrine Rousseau of psychological violence against an ex-companion, which he disputes . This affair, as well as the internal struggles in particular between Yannick Jadot and Sandrine Rousseau, focus attention, to the detriment of the party’s substantive proposals.
Six women are in the running but the fate of the party should mainly be played out between three of them: Marine Tondelier, elected in Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais) and member of the outgoing management, is considered the favorite, supported notably by Julien Bayou; Sophie Bussière, New-Aquitaine regional councilor and supported by MEP Yannick Jadot; Mélissa Camara, elected Lille supported by the ecofeminist deputy Sandrine Rousseau and part of the left wing of EELV.
Three other women are presenting more confidential motions: the former regional candidate in Brittany Claire Desmares-Poirrier, who defends the territories, federalism and degrowth; the head of elections Hélène Hardy, who calls for turning the party more towards working-class neighborhoods; and executive board member Géraldine Boyer, who claims a libertarian heritage.
How it works
The new leader of the party should not be known on Saturday evening, but the results of this “decentralized congress”, in which the approximately 11,000 members can participate, will make it possible to know the great forces present.
On Saturday, members will vote for the lists in the running, but also to elect the members of the future federal council, and especially the 400 delegates to the “federal congress” scheduled for December 10 in Rungis (Ile-de-France), who will designate the new national secretary. If no list reaches 50% of the votes on Saturday, mergers will be necessary.
Their common points
The candidates all suffer from a lack of notoriety, because of the statutes of the party which prevent a national elected representative from running for the head of EELV. They have in common to want to “massify” the party and reconnect with rurality and working-class neighborhoods. Marine Tondelier wishes in particular “one million sympathizers” at the end of this mandate.
All but one also intend to “refound” EELV – only Mélissa Camara does not make it a priority –, several evoking the need for a general assembly of ecology very quickly. “There are not that many differences between us”, assures Marine Tondelier, who defends “a benevolent and inclusive party”, and criticizes “the buzz” and “the twitterization” which divides the party, in a tackle at Sandrine Rousseau.
Marine Tondelier like Sophie Bussière distance themselves from Nupes, considering it necessary to work first on “a new great party of ecology”. Marine Tondelier wants a “new form of coalition” and claims “autonomy”. Same fight for Sophie Bussière, who defends “a European, federalist vision, which distinguishes us from certain partners on the left”. Both claim an independent list for Europeans. To stand out, Sophie Bussière does not hesitate to tackle the outgoing management – and therefore Marine Tondelier – who “has not kept her promises of transformations”, according to her.
Conversely, Mélissa Camara defends Nupes and claims to make EELV “a driving force for the left”. “I refuse to replay the game of hegemony and who will be the king of the graveyard,” she said. To the Europeans, she advocates not closing the door to a common list. Mélissa Camara also wants to carry “a form of radicalism, of rupture” and wishes that the party find its full place in the movements of civil disobedience. Her score will give an image of the weight in Sandrine Rousseau’s party. “For the other lists, it’s anything but Rousseau,” laments Mélissa Camara.