French left mulls backing Mélenchon’s presidential bid

By Davide Basso
Apr. 6, 2022
Languages: Français | Deutsch

With just four days to go before the first round of the French presidential election, many left-wing voters still wonder whether they should bend some of their beliefs and support far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the only viable candidate on the left likely to be able to hold back the far-right. EURACTIV France reports.

Today, like in 2017, most left-wing voters in France seem divided between voting for the incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate who is up for re-election, and far-left contender Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France Insoumise.

In France, many tend to opt for a “useful vote” when voting for a presidential candidate, so that even though a “useful” candidate may not align fully with their views, they are most likely to make it to the second round or even win.

Mélenchon, who opposes the term “useful vote”, has made the notion of an “effective vote” the focal point of his campaign.

However, to convince the undecided left-wing electorate, he told supporters at his latest rallies that he will beat the far-right in the first round, and Macron in the second.

Mélenchon hopes to create a surprise on Sunday (10 April) by eliminating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of Rassemblement National, who has edged closer to Macron in opinion polls.  The idea is tempting for left-wing voters, who have not seen a true left-wing candidate in the second round in the past ten years.

A real headache for social democrat and green voters.

Christine, a retired civil servant and long-time leftist has voted for the Socialists all her life, including for François Mitterrand in 1981 and François Hollande in 2012, as well as for Benoît Hamon, who failed to make it to the second round with just 6% of the votes in 2017.

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However, this time around, Christine told EURACTIV that she would go for Mélenchon, albeit “reluctantly”.

While “signing a blank cheque for Macron [in the first round]” is out of the question, she acknowledged she was also “aware of the ecological emergency” and was tempted by Yannick Jadot’s candidacy.

However, she finally chose to vote for Mélenchon.

With just four days to go before the first round of the French presidential election, many left-wing voters still wonder whether they should bend some of their beliefs and support far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the only viable candidate on the left likely to be able to hold back the far-right. EURACTIV France reports.

Today, like in 2017, most left-wing voters in France seem divided between voting for the incumbent President Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate who is up for re-election, and far-left contender Jean-Luc Mélenchon of La France Insoumise.

In France, many tend to opt for a “useful vote” when voting for a presidential candidate, so that even though a “useful” candidate may not align fully with their views, they are most likely to make it to the second round or even win.

Mélenchon, who opposes the term “useful vote”, has made the notion of an “effective vote” the focal point of his campaign.

However, to convince the undecided left-wing electorate, he told supporters at his latest rallies that he will beat the far-right in the first round, and Macron in the second.

Mélenchon hopes to create a surprise on Sunday (10 April) by eliminating far-right candidate Marine Le Pen of Rassemblement National, who has edged closer to Macron in opinion polls.  The idea is tempting for left-wing voters, who have not seen a true left-wing candidate in the second round in the past ten years.

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A real headache for social democrat and green voters.

Christine, a retired civil servant and long-time leftist has voted for the Socialists all her life, including for François Mitterrand in 1981 and François Hollande in 2012, as well as for Benoît Hamon, who failed to make it to the second round with just 6% of the votes in 2017.

However, this time around, Christine told EURACTIV that she would go for Mélenchon, albeit “reluctantly”.

While “signing a blank cheque for Macron [in the first round]” is out of the question, she acknowledged she was also “aware of the ecological emergency” and was tempted by Yannick Jadot’s candidacy.

However, she finally chose to vote for Mélenchon.

Convincing Le Pen voters

Mélenchon also claims to be addressing Le Pen’s voters – as this is the best way to bring her down on election day.

The far-left candidate attacked Le Pen during his rally in Lille on Tuesday evening (5 April), which was broadcast across eleven other cities.

Mélenchon appealed to the “angry, not fascists” who share his disappointment and anger towards Macron but do not lean towards the far-right and only vote Le Pen for lack of anything better.

His strategy seems to be paying off for the moment, at least according to the latest polls. However, this is also the case for Le Pen, who is seeing the same gradual increase in the polls as Mélenchon, and remains in second place, behind Macron.

‘Anything but Macron’

Other left-wing candidates who are all polling well below 10%, are trying to urge potential voters to follow their convictions rather than opinion polls.

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“Let people vote for their ideas […] the freedom to vote is the most beautiful freedom,” Communist candidate Fabien Roussel said on the sidelines of a visit to a social housing project in the Paris suburbs on Monday (4 April).

To make sure the current polls do not become reality, Mélenchon, currently polling in third place, is also counting on people who usually abstain, including the youth who generally support him, to vote.

The far-left candidate is also hoping that his “anything but Macron” strategy will bear fruit – a strategy Le Pen, his main rival for the second round, has also adopted.

Published at www.euractiv.com

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