France’s ‘yellow vests’ to run for European elections

Ingrid Levavasseur [@LeGlobe_info Twitter]

A group of French “yellow vest” protesters announced plans Wednesday (23 January) to field candidates in this year’s European Parliament elections, with a 31-year-old health worker to lead a list that a poll suggests could win up to 13% of the vote.

The group listed 10 people who will run for seats in the European Parliament in May on the “Citizen-led Rally” ticket, aged 29 to 53 and with jobs ranging from forklift driver and stay-at-home mother to sales director.

The list will be fronted by Ingrid Levavasseur, a care worker raising two children alone in Normandy who is popular in the movement.

Levavasseur recently made headlines by turning down an offer to become a regular commentator on the BFM news network after receiving threats from other yellow vests who view mainstream media with suspicion.

Hayk Shahinyan, a spokesperson for the group, said it aimed to present 79 candidates in total, with the remaining 69 to be chosen in an internal ballot by mid-February.

An Elabe poll published Wednesday showed the anti-establishment yellow vests — a movement that began in mid-December over fuel taxes but has since widened into a broader anti-government campaign — taking 13 percent of votes in the May 26 election.

The poll, which showed President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Republic on the Move coming out on top, ahead of the far-right National Rally (RN), predicted that the yellow vests would hurt Marine Le Pen’s RN the most.

By taking part in the election, the yellow vest representatives risk accentuating a split in the movement between radicals opposed to all party politics and moderates who believe that change can come only by participating in the political system.

“I’m a yellow vest but I don’t want any election list… You don’t represent me”, one supporter of the movement, identified as Benoit Delhaye, wrote in response on Twitter.

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