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Jean-Luc Mélenchon: Robespierres Ghost?
Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the Front de Gauche is now the third candidate in the French Presidential election, at 16% he is level with La Pen but his trajectory is upward. His standing is sending shivers up the spines of the French Bourgeoisie, fearful of what concessions Edwin will wring from Hollande for support in the second round of voting. Here are two articles regarding his candidacy. Full texts at links.
Momentum builds behind Frances third man
Jean-Michel Edwin calls for critical support for Melenchon in this months presidential election
Campaigning for France’s two-round presidential election is hotting up. The first ballot takes place on April 22, when all but the top two candidates will be eliminated, and the second round will be held on May 6. The monarchical president - either rightwing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy or one of his opponents - will form a provisional government, and will hope to gain a majority of deputies in the French national assembly when the legislative elections are held on June 10 and 17.
Sarkozy and the Parti Socialiste candidate, François Hollande, are running far ahead of their opponents and look set to qualify for the second round, but the Front de Gauche (FG) candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, in alliance with the Parti Communiste Français, has unexpectedly gained support and now stands at 15% in the polls. He has promised his enthusiastic working class supporters that he will qualify for the second round: “We will do it!”
According to the media, Mélenchon is the “hard-left” candidate who calls for a “citizens’ revolution” (révolution citoyenne). Last week he raised the demand that Sarkozy “account for the misery and ignorance he has spread during his five years in office”. He was speaking at a rally at the Place du Capitole in Toulouse in front of 70,000 red-flag-waving supporters - only the latest in a series of mass rallies, where tens of thousands workers have come to hear him across the country. The climax of his campaign should be a monster rally in Paris three days before the election, where 100,000 are expected to gather from all over France. “This is not an ordinary campaign,” Mélenchon says, “but the first stage of a revolution: you cannot stop us! We can’t lose because it’s not only an election, but the révolution citoyenne on the march!”
The classic right-left stand-off between the conservative Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, plus liberal allies, and the Parti Socialiste began to take shape when the PS organised primary elections open to every French voter in October 2011. For the first time these primaries were opened up to candidates of other leftwing parties, but only the bourgeois Parti Radical de Gauche availed itself of the opportunity to join in - the FG, PCF and far-left organisations kept their distance.
The PS primaries need to be mentioned, as they attracted more than 2.5 million voters - far more than the PS membership. Amongst the six candidates in the first round, François Hollande finished ahead of Martine Aubry and the former won the second round. But the third candidate was PS leftwinger Arnaud Montebourg, who picked up an unexpected 17%.
In a press release issued on December 9 Mélenchon congratulated Hollande, but put particular emphasis on the Montebourg result: “… I note especially the spectacular breakthrough of Arnaud Montebourg and his ideas of rupture, which he raises in terms often identical to those of the Front de Gauche”.