06:17 GMT12 August 2020
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    Two French Eurosceptic parties, the Patriots and the Popular Republican Union (UPR), may join forces in the elections to the European Parliament. The head of the Patriots Party, Florian Philippot, has told Sputnik that the party has suggested a “situational alliance” with their potential allies. The UPR is now discussing the proposal.

    Florian Philippot explained: "We proposed to the UPR (Union Populaire Républicaine) to make a joint (election) list, the choice is now theirs".

    The results of a survey conducted by Ifop-Fiducial on 23 April for the magazine Paris Match, news channel Cnews and the Sud Radio station, show that the popularity of both parties (the Patriots and the Popular Republican Union) is growing. The Patriots would get 2.5% (+ 0.5%) of the vote, while the UPR 1.5% (+ 0.5%) if the elections were held today.

    Even though the growing popularity of both parties is encouraging to their leaders, neither of them has yet attained the 5% barrier needed to obtain at least one seat for France. This has been explained by our colleagues from the newspaper Le Figaro: "After a party gets 5% of the votes, the electoral quotient is calculated by dividing the number of votes cast by the total number of seats (79). Then, the total number of votes is divided by the electoral quotient and the number of seats allocated for each party is obtained. This is the so-called ‘d'Hondt method' (méthode d'Hondt). The distribution of seats follows the order in which the names of the candidates appear on the electoral lists".

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    With such a voting system and the way seats are distributed an alliance is needed Florian Philippot told Sputnik: "It is not about denying our differences, nor about merging. It is about being up to the challenge in these European elections. If nobody from the UPR or the Patriots gets elected, no French MEP will carry the idea of Frexit".

    Despite stressing that at this stage there are no "direct discussions", Florian Philippot confirmed that the proposal to have a combined electoral list was passed to the UPR on 19 April. According to him, "the UPR leadership supports this initiative". UPR treasurer and national coordinator Charles-Henri Langlois has declined to comment about this to Sputnik France: "I can only say that we are discussing the proposal by the Patriots, nothing more".

    It should be noted that Francois Asselineau (the head of the UPR) and Florian Philippot have clashed before. "This guy is a crook. He stole my ideas. If he had been honest, he would have given up his MEP seat that he received thanks to the National Front. He could then join the UPR. But we have left-wing members and this would cause quite a stir", UPR's chief told Le Figaro on 22 October of last year.

    In February, Florian Philippot told our correspondent that "he does not need to prove his commitment to the sovereignty of [France]" and that he opposed the EU long before 2007 and before the establishment of the Popular Republican Union.

    "I'm not at all proposing a merger. We are talking about an agreement precisely on the eve of elections to the European Parliament. The positions of the UPR and the Patriots vary on a number of topics, in particular, on the issue of immigration. We also advocate for an increase in the inter-occupational minimum wage (Smic) by 300 euros and for the continued development of nuclear power plants. I am for an alliance of convenience. The main goal is France's exit from the EU".

    "For administrative reasons, we are limited in time. We submitted our proposal to the Popular Republican Union in due form. Now the choice is theirs", Florian Philippot concluded.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    European Parliament, European Union, Florian Philippot, France
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