One of the most prominent young figures and potential future leader of France’s far-left on Sunday quit his party post after admitting violent behaviour towards his wife.
Adrien Quatennens, 32, has been a key figure of the France Unbowed (LFI) movement of far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who narrowly missed out on making the run off in this year’s presidential elections.
He is part of a young guard of the LFI who are seen as potential future leaders of the party once Melenchon, 71, bows out from politics after making the party France’s number one left wing force well ahead of the Socialists (PS).
Quatennens announced he was resigning as a coordinator for the LFI as he admitted that one year ago he had hit his wife, with whom he is in the process of divorcing, during an argument.
“I profoundly regret this action which was never repeated,” he said, after the allegation were first published this week by the Canard Enchaine satirical weekly.
Quatennens also admitted to “sending too many messages” to his wife “to try to convince her that our difficulties as a couple could be overcome”.
The MP said he would “take the consequences” by “retiring from” his job as coordinator to “protect the movement and its activists.”
His wife has filed what is called in France a “main courante” about his actions, which is a declaration to the police of an infraction but which does not usually start a criminal investigation. His lawyer said he was not aware of any investigation against Quatennens.
Melenchon said that Quatennens had been the victim of a campaign in the media and praised his “dignity and courage” while emphasising that a “punch is always unacceptable”.
The LFI leader, who has dominated the influential far-left movement in France over the last decade and played a major role in the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections, has said he does not plan to stand again for head of state.
Quatennens was until now seen as one of several members of an often radical long guard of the party who coud replace Melenchon along with figures such as the MP Clementine Autain.