Editorial of the “World”. Seven months before the presidential election, after a primary full of suspense, environmentalists have appointed Yannick Jadot as candidate. This choice is all the more important since it was not taken for granted: the campaign, rich in debates and surprises, brought out new figures and multiple radicalities which have continued to shake up the more calm discourse of the MEP.
The former Greepeace activist won, Tuesday, September 28, with 51.03% of the vote against the ecofeminist Sandrine Rousseau, who was however a virtually unknown at the start of the consultation. In doing so, he narrowly won the first challenge he had set out: to have his party and more generally sympathizers recognize his ambition to be “The candidate of ecology” to be one day “The president of the climate”.
His designation, even by a short head, marks a turning point in the history of the environmentalist family. Until now, the French Greens were more inclined to choose candidates for testimony than to assert a presidential ambition. Mistrust of national power, mistrust of the institutions of the Ve Republic, everything contributed to divert them from the election queen until the climate emergency and the growing mobilization of young people around this theme changed the situation.
An “open, majority and joyful ecology”
Yannick Jadot began to believe it, when, head of the list in the 2019 European elections, he brought environmentalists to the rank of third political force behind the National Rally and the presidential party. Since then, he traces his path, convinced that the government project he defends, based on ecological and social regulation, can ensure his camp the leadership on the governmental left. Arguing the urgency, but pleading for relaxation, he wants to be the cantor of a “Open, majority and joyful ecology”, in contrast to the followers of degrowth, ecological planning or anti-liberalism.
After the Greens’ push in the 2020 municipal elections, his election to the primary is bad news for the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who sees a serious competitor emerge as his campaign is slipping. In 2012, Yannick Jadot, dubbed by EELV, withdrew in favor of the socialist candidate, Benoît Hamon. This time, he expects the opposite. This is his second challenge.
A difficult synthesis to build
The third that he launched appears much more random: it is a question of clearing sufficiently the congested ground of the left to appear as the one who can really “challenge” Emmanuel Macron. The weak momentum available to the whole of this camp and the claim of Jean-Luc Mélenchon to remain the dominant one, make the equation impossible, except to count on a devitalization of the leader of rebellious France. The green primary has, in fact, given rise to a feminist radicalism, embodied by Sandrine Rousseau, likely to overshadow her.
By promising to remain united, despite their differences, the environmental finalists will try to extend the movement they managed to initiate throughout the month of September. They know that the ground is favorable, that young people are more and more mobilized, that not much is missing for them to rise up. However, the gap is such between Yannick Jadot’s government plan and Sandrine Rousseau’s desire for transformation that the synthesis appears difficult to construct. The left is not done with its divisions.