Expelled Thursday after her criticism of Yannick Jadot’s campaign, Sandrine Rousseau counterattacks. The one who narrowly lost the ecologist primary absolutely refuses the label of distributor of her camp. For the academic, if the voting intentions for the environmentally conscious presidential candidate are so low, it’s because the candidate hasn’t reached the left wing enough of the electorate. What’s next? Sandrine Rousseau leaves the door open for the parliamentary elections and the EELV Congress, but explains clearly to 20 minutes that she is here to stay.
You denounced a “fuzzy” campaign speech by Yannick Jadot, “a mess”, according to comments from the Parisian last week. Do you understand your eviction from his campaign team?
I take note, but it seems absurd to me. Not next to me, but politically: it is a message of withdrawal, where now more than ever it is a matter of coming together.
From the standpoint of the candidate’s team, isn’t it legitimate to expect campaign loyalty, especially from a candidate in the primaries?
I challenge you to find the times when I was not loyal. While someone changes candidates every day, I’ve never strayed from my line or my word: I’m both loyal to half of the primary voters who supported me — and that no one has the right to cancel — and true to the result of these primary ones, which made Yannick Jadot indisputably the ecologists’ candidate for this election. Unity does not feed on uniformity, but on coming together.
It wasn’t the first criticism we saw in the press…
No, I was not criticized in the press! The insulting comments come from discussions recognized as private that a journalist has chosen to post in the public square in a very approximate way. Who benefits from the crime? There is an ethical question that concerns the profession. Otherwise, in my public remarks, I have never done anything but try to defend a political balance.
What is missing from this campaign for environmentalists?
A message for the left wing! What is missing is a more left-wing debate, about a social and popular ecology. This is what I embodied and I see that many people who have supported me since primary school have gone to Jean-Luc Mélenchon. There it is, of course, since my impeachment, even worse. Jean-Luc Mélenchon rose in the polls while Yannick Jadot fell. We must bring to life a pluralism of ecology.
But isn’t the political line exactly defined by the environmentalist?
The primaries determined who the candidate would be. But with a result of 51%/49% it has been shown exactly that the line is not unambiguous. That’s why we absolutely had to find compromises, confer, bring a multiple ecology to life. We cannot do without half an electorate. And in fact, Yannick Jadot’s voting intentions have dropped significantly since the primaries.
After the primaries, you became chairman of the candidate’s political council. Was it a bouncy chair? Couldn’t influence the campaign there?
Specifically, this political advice was useless, it had no influence on the political line. In the historical context of a war in Europe, I was not even consulted about the position to be taken, I discovered it in the press. But this political advice was a symbol of unity, it had real political meaning, so I accepted it and then tried to strike a balance.
The problem is that a small circle around Yannick Jadot and at the head of the party has never accepted the primary’s signal, perhaps because my personality shakes them up too much. They wanted to make this order disappear instead of relying on it to build a balance that would have allowed us to expand our electorate, it’s a waste.
You said last week that Yannick Jadot should take a “greener” stance on Ukraine. What do you think would be a “greener” position?
That would be to say that the absolute urgency is to do without Russian gas and nuclear energy very quickly. Today Yannick Jadot says it, and that’s good, but he started talking about arms deliveries without even understanding whether it was for the military or for civilians. While the will of Ukrainian men and women to resist is overwhelming, deliberately arming civilians against soldiers is not necessarily a service to be rendered.
You were in Toulouse this weekend, where you stated at a conference, according to… The Midi broadcast “It depresses me to do politics in Ku Klux Klan groups.” Who or what are you targeting? Your own side?
Obviously I wasn’t aiming for my own camp. I said two things: first, that in France we have a historic rise of white supremacy, assumed, asserted, epitomized by Eric Zemmour. Simply using the word “far right” to describe what is happening obscures reality. When Zemmour said the face to Rokhaya Diallo in 2008, “You belong to the black race and I belong to the white race”, it is really very clear. I wanted to warn about this. Especially because this identity-based and supremacist far-right threatens all activists, all left-wing activists and especially me, because in this case, at the conference I was invited to, we had to raise the level of security, and it wasn’t the first time.
Secondly, I wanted to say that, apart from the extreme right, the working-class neighborhoods are insufficiently represented in the parties. We have to say it! We as ecologists have a special duty to seek them out and to ensure that we also present an ecology from these working-class neighbourhoods. The punishment was intentionally provocative, but clearly excessive. My mistake is that I should have understood, since nobody ever gives me anything, that this sentence would become a pinnacle of political debate.
Still looking for a candidate in the parliamentary elections in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, where you clearly led the way in an advisory vote from local activists?
Yes ! This advisory vote had very few voters. At the women’s college 21 people voted, I got 4 votes and the person who arrived first got 12. I think we have to put the magnitude of this failure in perspective. Yesterday, in Toulouse, I went on an excursion, I went to support citizens’ collectives against the closure of schools or the artificial soil, I gave this conference… There was a really crazy crowd! The contact with the residents of the 13th that I started to meet was good, I have every confidence in that. Not only will I continue to be an environmentalist, I’ll stay with EELV, but I’ll also continue to represent something. It wouldn’t be a good sign if I wasn’t a candidate.
We’ve been hearing a lot of rumors for weeks about a hypothetical intention to take over the helm of EELV in 2022, or even start a movement of its own. What do you say about today?
I am an environmentalist. I left this party once, as a result of sexual violence within this party. I’m not leaving under any circumstances. You still have to measure my story and its scope. Moreover, it is quite surprising that I am systematically seen as someone with weak, bad intentions. I just do politics and I represent a political movement that we have to accept that it exists. We minimize the collective we represent every time.
Are you dismissed as the “distributor”?
Oh yeah! Again, I’d like us to analyze this: who divides who?
Should your eviction be seen in the light of possible ambitions within the party?
What happened on Thursday is still very bizarre. There was a press release, I have not received a message since. And since then, all party cadres – especially the men – go on sets to explain how dangerous I am. Me, all I can say is my family is ecology. That I want a collecting ecology, a popular ecology, a social ecology. That is today’s topic.
In this regard, will you be voting for Yannick Jadot in the first round of the presidential election on April 10?
I’m voting for Yannick Jadot on April 10 because I’m responsible for two. That is, I do not lose sight of the fact that ecology is the most important.