Samuel Earle 19 April 2017
Tags: french presidential election 2017 | mélenchon
On 9 April, the left’s late-runner for the French presidency, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, held a rally in Marseille. He called for the formation of a Sixth Republic while his supporters – 70,000 of them, according to his campaign team – roared ‘Résistance! Résistance!’ Five years earlier, almost to the day, he stood in the same place, for the same purpose, sharing the same message at a very similar time: weeks before the first round of the presidential election, with his campaign enjoying a sudden late surge in support. Mélenchon hasn’t changed much since then, but the political atmosphere around him has transformed.
Following his recent rise in the polls – currently third, up from fifth a month ago – the top three candidates for the presidency now belong to neither of the two main parties, the Socialists and Les Républicains, which have alternated in power since the beginning of the Fifth Republic in 1958 (though changing shape and, in the case of Les Républicains, name several times along the way).
Whatever the immediate reasons for this state of affairs – a centre-left that failed to live up to its election promise, a centre-right mired in scandal – the public is clearly fed up with ‘politics as usual’. All three of the leading candidates – Emmanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Mélenchon – use the word ‘révolution’ in their campaigns. (Macron, ‘the Banker’, as Mélenchon likes to call him – he was a financial adviser at Rothschild – is the least convincing revolutionary.) All three have also distanced themselves from the traditional labels of left and right.
Mélenchon’s reluctance to represent ‘the left’ is the most remarkable. For decades, he has been a maverick of the French left-wing. When he quit the Socialist Party in 2008 after thirty years, it was, he said, to set up a ‘new party for the left’. Now Mélenchon and those around him almost refuse to use the word. ‘We do not appeal to the identitarian patriotism of those who think that we have to “save the Left” or “be left-wing”,’ spokesperson for La France insoumise, the movement behind Mélenchon, explained. ‘It is far too minoritarian. We want to win.’
Also look Finance and its Markets are not afraid of Le Pen. They do hate Melanchon! Defend Democracy Press