Why the Quatennens affair turned into political poison for Nupes

She runs, she runs, Mathilde Panot, in the Salle des Quatre Colonnes of the National Assembly. He runs, he runs, Manuel Bompard, when he sees us before crossing a street next to the Palais-Bourbon. They are not the only rebels to hurry while remaining silent, this Wednesday, November 23. Two months after the storm that shook La France insoumise, the case against Adrien Quatennens, who admitted to having had violent gestures on his wife Céline, took a new turn, and plunged the party of Jean-Luc Mélenchon into doubt , otherwise the crisis. That day, the political soap opera that abuses LFI and its leader was entitled to a new climax. In a press release, the wife of the Lille deputy reports “anger”, “crises” and “physical and moral violence” on his part for “several years”. New accusations that the person concerned “categorically” denies.

And to say that everything was ready for the return of the “son”, the one who was said to succeed Jean-Luc Mélenchon sooner or later. For several weeks now, the elected representative from the North has been preparing to return to the benches of the National Assembly, helped by the executives of the movement, who have continued to support him. Even Sandrine Rousseau, the environmentalist who pushed his competitor Julien Bayou (accused by his ex-companion of psychological violence) to leave the benches of the Assembly, seemed to absolve Quatennens and did not oppose his return. Jean-Luc Mélenchon was pushing in this direction, as he confided to L’Express in early November: “He will come back, and we will help him.”

So it had been decided “at the top” of the movement – what does it matter to these few rebellious people who did not see this return with a good eye. Some socialists had even submitted the idea of ​​bringing him back to the non-registered rather than to the benches of the Nupes, so as not to suffer too much politically from his presence, and failing to call for a resignation, a decision that only the interested can take. Silence on the other end of the line.

If, yesterday, the Quatennens affair was also that of La France insoumise, it has above all become that of the New Popular Ecologist and Social Union (Nupes). “The return of Quatennens can no longer be on the agenda,” said an environmentalist deputy, tired of the judicial and political refrain “polluting the parliamentary work of the left”. The Nupes has marked time, it which had occupied the media space for months, after the presidential election and then the legislative ones.

Since the start of the school year in September, she has found herself at the mercy of embarrassing cases and controversies of all kinds: in addition to the Quatennens affair, there has been the controversy over barbecues, assistantships, the right to laziness or even the Julien Bayou case. “We are the subject of peripheral subjects when we have to return to our fundamental battles. We have a cultural battle to wage against the far right and against the liberals, we must refocus!” said a leader of the PS, disappointed that the Nupes was no longer visible in the fight against the reform of unemployment insurance.

In politics, too, opportunity is the thief. Behind this annoyance also hides a desire, not assumed, of the same socialists and ecologists to find a window of opportunity to wear out Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s machine and take the leadership of Nupes. “Everyone must discipline themselves, including Jean-Luc”, they say to the PS and to EELV with a serious facade. What was their surprise to see that within LFI certain voices – including that of François Ruffin – call for less noise, less fury and more sobriety in the strategy.

So many criticisms which do not escape Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He knows that many, especially among his allies, want his skin to clear the way for a presidential candidacy in 2027. The Quatennens affair and the unwavering support he gives him weaken him politically, but he survived well. worse, say friends and lieutenants. It had been declared finished after the episode of the searches and its now famous “La République, c’est moi!”, before making 22% in the presidential election. Mélenchon is tough.


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