Mélenchon appears as hologram in final push for French election

Image of radical left presidential candidate, who is third in polls, projected at rallies across country

By Kim Willsher
Apr 6, 2022

Speaking via hologram to multiple locations across France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the radical leftwing politician who aims to throw the presidential election off course, told supporters victory was within their grasp at his last campaign rally on Tuesday evening.

The veteran candidate, who has been edging his way up the polls and is in third place, described himself as a political tortoise: slow but with the potential to beat the hares to the finishing line.

“We have a few days and we can feel our destiny at our fingertips. We know we can push for the most incredible political change of direction imaginable,” he said in a 90-minute speech that touched on philosophy, literature and a 15th-century feminist treatise. “We have to break with presidential monarchy and install the sovereignty of the people. Everyone has an individual, personal responsibility for the result on Sunday,” he told them.

Mélenchon, 70, used special technology to “appear” in 12 places at the same time on Tuesday; the real Mélenchon was in the northern town of Lille, a traditional heartland for the French left while hologram incarnations appeared in 11 other cities spanning the length and breadth of France.

It is a hi-tech gimmick the leader of the radical La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), standing for the third time in a presidential election, first used in his 2017 campaign. The campaign team had boasted the aim was that Mélenchon – the real and the ephemeral – would be less than 250km from every French citizen in mainland France.

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With the first round of the 2022 presidential election looming this Sunday, Mélenchon is now the left’s only hope of reaching second round runoff. Support for the mainstream left Parti Socialiste has collapsed, leaving its candidate, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, facing an historically low score. The Ecology-Green candidate, Yannick Jadot, is languishing in sixth place. Emmanuel Macron is at 27%, Marine Le Pen at 23% and Mélenchon at 16.5%, according to the latest Ifop opinion poll.

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