“They fall back into their internal turpitude and their settling of scores as we have known them in the past”, laments a socialist elected official.

With 23 deputies in the Assembly, EELV hoped in this return to finally impose itself in the political debate, at a time when the ecological issue has become a priority.

But, a few weeks before a congress scheduled for December 10, it was the “Julien Bayou affair” and the accusations of psychological violence against his ex-partner, made publicly by Sandrine Rousseau, who monopolized the debate, forcing the national secretary to leave his post, with an explosion that affected the whole party.

Julien Bayou counter-attacked on Tuesday accusing Sandrine Rousseau of having “gone too far”, calling not to “confuse feminism and McCarthyism”.

Green MPs presented a “breakthrough plan for the climate” last week, but with this case, “it breaks the sound barrier”, laments an elected official.

“Everyone is paralyzed”, “activists are fed up”, agrees a party executive, who believes that Sandrine Rousseau “wants to burn everything”.

But “quarrels in politics are not the prerogative of the Greens”, nuances the former national secretary David Cormand. Exasperated by the criticism of “these irrecoverable Greens”, he points to “the race for the permanent buzz” of political life, sometimes centered on “sensationalism and the conflict of people”.

However, he recognizes “in recent months, an atmosphere has become heavy again, after years when we had managed to carry a voice of ecology, with successful sequences at the Europeans of 2019 or the municipal elections of 2020”.

“When things are going badly, we manage to stick together, and when things are going better, it is difficult to keep a collective, united spirit,” he adds.

The first incident dates back to the primary of the Greens, and the “false stampede”, of which Sandrine Rousseau, then candidate, accused a competitor, Eric Piolle, during the summer days in Poitiers. A moment of “stunned” for many.

And the unease “was accentuated” with the disappointing result of Yannick Jadot in the presidential election, notes Mr. Cormand.

The party is renowned for its operating rules presented as the most democratic of French parties, but which require endless discussions between the different currents. Internal debates source of many quarrels.

“It starts after 2009, and the fight in the European elections, between Dany’s friends (Daniel Cohn-Bendit, editor’s note) and the others,” said David Cormand.

Other turf wars will follow, including the battle for the 2011 primary between Eva Joly and Nicolas Hulot, which left the most bitter memories. Nicolas Hulot, yet one of the favorite personalities of the French, is finally dismissed. Eva Joly will collect 3.2% in the first round of the 2012 presidential election.

Fights on the strategic line will follow: in August 2015, the presidents of the groups in the Senate and the Assembly, Jean-Vincent Placé and François de Rugy, leave the party with a bang after the decision of Cécile Duflot and Pascal Canfin in April 2014 to refuse to participate in the socialist government of Manuel Valls.

A month later, the national secretary in place, Emmanuelle Cosse, entered the government as Minister of Housing against the line defended by the party, which she left simultaneously. An internal shock, remembers an elected official.

In October 2016, a new primary gave the feeling of shooting oneself in the foot, when Cécile Duflot, given favorite, finished in third place behind Michèle Rivasi and Yannick Jadot. The latter, having become a candidate, will finally rally behind the ex-socialist Benoit Hamon.

On Saturday, faced with the explosion of the Bayou affair, the deputy secretary general Jérémie Crépel invited everyone “to exercise restraint in the external exposure of our discussions”.