France’s left-green alliance parties are facing crises after two senior MPs were accused of violence against women.
On Sunday, Adrien Quatennens of France Unbowed (LFI) stepped down from his role as party co-ordinator after he admitted slapping his wife.
Days later, Green MP Julien Bayou was suspended as co-leader of his party’s bloc in parliament after accusations of psychologically abusing his ex-partner.
His party is investigating the allegations.
The left-wing alliance has been accused of “total hypocrisy” by the far-right National Rally (RN) for their stance on gender-based violence.
The two parties form part of an alliance of far-left, left and green parties which came together to form the New Ecological and Social Popular Union (Nupes) and secured more than a quarter of the votes in June’s parliamentary elections, depriving President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government of its majority in the National Assembly.
Mr Quatennens, 32, is a prominent MP and was seen as a potential successor to Jean-Luc Mélenchon as leader of the France Unbowed (LFI) party.
Mr Mélenchon’s response to the allegations against his colleague has sparked anger. He saluted the “dignity and courage” of Mr Quatennens in a social media post on Sunday, saying the MP had his “confidence and affection”. Only later did he expressly acknowledge the experiences of his wife, saying in a subsequent post that a slap was unacceptable in all cases.
The allegations against Mr Bayou first emerged in July, but he was only suspended from his leadership role in the Greens after his party colleague Sandrine Rousseau was asked about them in a television appearance on Monday. Women’s rights activists had taken to Twitter to demand that action be taken.
She said Mr Bayou’s ex-partner had been very depressed, and referred to behaviour that would be likely to “break” the mental health of a woman.
Another Green MP, Sandra Regol, said it had been a collective decision by the party in response to “legitimate questions” from women, feminists and victims.
Both parties came under fire from their political opponents. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said in response to Mr Mélenchon’s comments that it was “extremely shocking” to have someone minimising domestic violence, while Jordan Bardella of the far-right RN criticised the left for “setting itself up as a model of virtue” while being caught up in such allegations.