Template:Infobox French Political Party Template:Green politics sidebar Les Verts (or The Greens) are an ecologist political party to the centre-left of the political spectrum in France. They have officially been in existence since 1982, 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.


Early yearsEdit

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.

Participation in governmentEdit

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%.

Dominique Voynet was to lead the party into government for the first time, joining Lionel Jospin’s Socialist Party (PS) and the Communist 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.

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.

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 the National Assembly.

The Greens todayEdit

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.

Les Verts had six MEPs elected in the 2004 European Election with 8.43% of the vote.

In the hugely divisive 2005 referendum on the European Constitution, les Verts campaigned for a YES vote.

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.

Skandrani's affaireEdit

One of the party's co-founders, Ginette Skandrani, had long attracted criticism due to her involvement with holocaust deniers.[1] 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[2] who has close contacts with Holocaust deniers."[3]

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".[1]

In June, 2005, the Greens voted to permanently expel Skandrani. Among the reasons for her definitlve expulsion were her participation in the holocaust-denial website AAARGH (Association des anciens amateurs de récits de guerres et d’holocaustes).[1] 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".[1]

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.[1]

The whole affair underscored here is no longer and has not be a great topic of conversation in France. The French Green Party is not considered anti-Semitic party but on the contrary, is rallying against all discrimination. Some of his members are jewish. He voted for French anti-discrimination laws and works for Human rights[4]. So this affair can be considered as anecdotal.

Youth wing Edit

The youth branch of les Verts, founded in Strasbourg in 2001, is called "Les Jeunes Verts - la Souris verte" (literally “Young Greens - the Green mouse”). It is part of the FYEG since 2006.

See also Edit

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Template:Fr icon Auffray, Alain, Une verte trop brune exclue du parti, Libération, 2 June 2006Template:Ndash hosted on
  2. Template:Fr icon Audio file recorded by Skandrani, hosted on
  3. Anonymous, "Country Reports, France- 2004", Steven Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism. 2004.
  4. The Greens unreservedly condemn the aggression against young Jews

External linksEdit

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