What’s going on here?

In France, an alliance of leftwing and green parties has won an unexpected victory in the second round of elections. The New Popular Front (NFP) is made up of four parties and The Ecologists (LE-EELV) is the third largest. The NFP formed hastily to try and stop Marine Le Pen’s far right National Rally party winning the election, after its victory in the first round.

And in the UK, the Green Party has won four seats in the recent general election. This represents its best result ever, gaining around 7% of the total vote. So, is green politics in the ascendance in Europe?

What does this mean?

In France, it means LE-EELV could be in power soon, in coalition with other parties. The NFP didn’t get an outright majority so it can’t form a government on its own and will have to make a deal with the centrist parties in order to govern. It’s currently not clear which party will end up in government.

Leader Marine Tondelier was a key player in getting the alliance together and emerged as a star of the campaign. She is a veteran campaigner and a strong voice in the alliance, but is sadly unlikely to become Prime Minister. She’ll try to keep the NPF’s green policies – including legislation for carbon neutrality by 2050 – from being watered down in coalition.

The Green Party is a lot further from power in the UK, although they’ll have more of a voice in parliament than ever before. The UK’s first-past-the-post system means that the Greens have just 4 of the 650 parliamentary seats, despite winning 7% of the votes. Their manifesto included net zero by 2040, a frequent flyer tax, and banning domestic flights that take under three hours by train.

Why should we care?

Even without gaining power directly, green parties can influence politics by showing that there is appetite for progressive, earth-positive policies. This has led other leftwing and centrist parties to include more of these policies in their manifestos, as has been the case with both the French election and the new Labour government in the UK.

In the current political and economic climate, green policies are often framed in terms of jobs and investment. For example, the Labour party’s plan for a state-owned energy company, Great British Energy, will use renewables but frames it as a way to create jobs and keep energy bills down.

Be curious!

🎥 Watch the acceptance speech by Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer from last week

💚 Follow Marina Tondelier to see how the next few weeks of French politics unfold

🌍 Find out more about European Greens and the green representation in your country

Image from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.